Designs that really flatter

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

He never went to a fashion school and has only been on the fashion scene for six years - but Ephraim Molingoane of Ephemol is known for his immaculate sense of style.

There is a tinge of fantasy in his designs. Each of his collections tells a story. He started his label in 2002 for the select clientele he was designing for.

Molingoane does not follow fashion trends. He prefers to dress according to his mood.

He has come a long way since the early days when he was a model.

Molingoane has dressed and styled people such as Brenda Fassie, Lebo Mathosa and Mdu Masilela and his huge celebrity following continues to grow by the day.

His fashion sense was apparent long before he started his own label.

Molingoane holds a diploma in marketing. Between his marketing and modeling careers, he decided to move into the fashion industry. This was in 2001.

"My interest in fashion started in the 1990s," he says. "I was a model, but my love for fashion designing and styling nagged me."

In-between fashion designing, Molingoane designs magazine covers and CD sleeves for artists.

The highlight of his career was showcasing his work at the Sanlam Fashion Week in 2002, the most celebrated fashion week on the fashion calendar in Africa.

He has been part of the show since.

This year Molingoane showcased his Spring-Summer scent of Jacaranda. In 2005 he showcased in Shanghai, China.

He attributes his success to the influence of Dion Chang and Lucille Boysen.

"Dion and Lucille opened many doors for me," he says. "Through their exposure I have done sleeves for Fistas, DJ QT and others.

"I also do productions for big fashion shows.

"I have styled for KB, the late TK, Arthur Mafokathe, Mandoza, the late Lebo Mathosa, 3Sum and Genesis, to name only a few."

The 38-year-old's use of unexpected materials and spare silhouettes and his ability to transcend the current trends have placed him at the forefront of influential fashion designers.

"My designs are modern, bold and yet elegant and have both architectural and sculptural elements," he says.

"I am satisfied when I know a design will flatter the body while challenging typical silhouettes."

Molingoane acquired his unique style through his extensive travels abroad as a model.

"I have traveled to Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, London and Istanbul, to name but a few cities.

"I also did commercials for various products ranging from soft drinks, jeans, TV and magazines to billboards.

"The exposure I got has influenced my style and allowed my creative nature to come the fore."

And what's the secret of looking like a million bucks?

"The secret is choosing understated but luxurious pieces that compliments, rather than overpower, your good looks.

"Update your classics with new modern pieces.

"Dress as if you already have the lifestyle."