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Women who prove that success is a family affair

Having worked in fashion design, manufacturing and production for decades, Betina Swart joined forces with her daughter Kelly Gibberd, a former retail fashion buyer, to create the brand Me&B in 2018. They firmly believed the fashion industry deserved a shake up. Their designs have universal appeal, as they celebrate femininity for every generation and body shape. Me&B’s primary concerns are quality, fit and sustainability, each piece lovingly made from design to creation by a team of skilled local women in Cape Town.

Image: Supplied

As a big fan of the brand and through knowing the girls personally, I can proudly say that Me&B delivers fashion that makes you feel comfortable in your body and style, designing each piece to feel perfect for now but fit for years to come. Me&B creates clothing that invites you to step out and show the world who you are while looking stylishly tailored and feeling supremely comfortable.

“Iris Apfel told the world that ‘when you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else’. We believe this wholeheartedly. It’s part of the Me&B philosophy, literally stitched into the fabric of everything we do, from inclusive sizing for every body type to using compostable delivery bags,” says Kelly.

Glamour: What’s the story behind your label’s name?

It describes the entities behind the brand! Me (Kelly Gibberd) & B (Betina Swart). We wanted it to be inclusive, which we thought the ampersand would symbolise.

G: What inspired you to start Me&B?

We’re obsessed with fashion, but neither of us are size 34, and our experience at malls was so negative it left us with inferiority complexes. We felt we couldn’t express ourselves with what was on offer. Especially Betina, as she felt she had to dress like an ‘older woman’, which is backwards!

G: Here’s a question for Betina: how do you find working with your daughter?

Betina Swart: We get along well. We can say what we need to say and move forward. That’s family. I think we bring out the best in each other!

Image: Supplied

G: And here’s one for Kelly: what’ve you learned about your mom as her business partner ?

Kelly Gibberd: Her strengths as a mother translate into her strengths as a boss. She can neutralise any situation, and problem solve on her feet as only someone with her experience could. I’m inspired by how hard she works and what she achieves in a day. She’s an incredible role model.

G: What misconceptions about sustainable fashion do you challenge?

Just because someone labels a fabric as sustainable doesn’t mean it is. We get frustrated when brands green wash and say, this is a sustainable fabric. It isn’t due to the dye, and because we’re not capable of producing certain fabrics in South Africa, most of them originate from China or India. We challenge this by not calling ourselves a sustainable brand.

G: What’s the inspiration behind your current collection ?

The events that are happening fast and furiously post-pandemic. Our spring collection comprises summer suiting, pretty, feminine dresses and florals. Our vibrant holiday collection features brights with a fun, exotic print direction, and our Aperol Coast collection is all about resort wear.

G: How do you feel the line has changed or evolved?

We’ve learned a lot about online shoppers. Being an inclusive brand for all body types has meant we’ve evolved from structured, tailored styles and made clever updates such as elasticated waists, shirting and ties.

G: How do you want women to feel when wearing your creations?

Our customers feel more approachable wearing colour, immediately open without having to say a word. They also tell us how many compliments they receive from strangers!

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