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Orapeleng Modutle Haute Couture extraordinaire

Fashion designer Orapeleng Modutle has built a career around custom-made garments. We find out what inspires his journey.

Born and raised in the small town of Kimberly, Orapeleng Modutle has proven that where you come from has no bearing on where you can end up. Building a brand and reputation for creating haute couture garments for some of the most recognised people on the African continent is no small feat. After studying fashion design at Tswane University, he had the privilege of working and learning from Stoned Cherry designer, Khensani Nkosi, as an intern. And the rest, as they say, is history. We got to chat with Orapeleng about his success and his inspiration.

G: How would you describe yourself?

OM: Humble. Creative. Extraordinaire.

G: Do you remember the moment you realised you wanted to be a fashion designer?

OM: It was when I attended a career exhibition in high school and met the legendary David Tlale, whom I had followed for years. When he gave me greater insight into the fashion industry, that was when I decided this is definitely my passion.

G: Did your family and friends support your decision?

OM: My mom was very supportive. My brother was a bit sceptical, but once I had proven to him that one can build a solid career through fashion, he held my hand and made sure that I was equipped to start my own fashion business.

G: Did you study fashion design and, if so, where did you study?

OM: I studied Fashion Design at Tshwane University of Technology.

Image: Supplied/Orapeleng Modutle dress

G: What is it about women that you love designing for?

OM: It all takes me back to watching my mother and grandmother dress up for work and special occasions. They would always ensure that their waists were well defined, and that’s one of the things I love doing; defining the female waist and enhancing the shape of an African woman’s body.

G: When designing for a client, is the creative process collaborative, or do you prefer to come up with the concept yourself?

OM: It is a collaborative journey that we go through together. I love getting to know the client when designing. Their personality plays an important role in the design process.

G: Where and from what do you draw inspiration?

OM: I draw my inspiration from different destinations and elements of luxury.

G: Your pieces are extremely intricate and must take a great number of hours to create, as well as a substantial team to bring your vision to life. Was it always part of your plan to create red carpet worthy dresses?

OM: Definitely! The OM woman is someone that exudes opulence and luxury.

G: Do you have a favourite international celebrity who you would love to see wearing your dress on a red carpet?

OM: Yes I do, and it has to be Kim Kardashian.

G: Have you faced many challenges in your career?

OM: Yes, I have. Starting a business in the fashion industry is not easy at all. Even during the growth of my career, I have stumbled across many challenges.

G: What keeps you motivated?

OM: Always having the opportunity to make a meaningful impact and reach success.

G: The fashion landscape has changed considerably of late. What is your personal take on the state of fashion on our continent?

OM: There is immense growth in the development of fashion in Africa and it’s truly exciting to see how our young designers are gaining influence on the global stage.

Image: Supplied- Orapeleng Modutle dress

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