South Africa’s womenswear industry is booming with talented and skilled designers. However, Orapeleng Modutle has carved a successful niche for his brand because of his innate love of creativity and tailoring followed by a spectacular interpretation of how women should dress.
I am inspired by life. I am inspired by women who are creating their own futures. I am inspired by nature. I am inspired really by my surroundings, the beauty and ugly of life and the lessons that life always has for us.
– says Modutle
Having begun designing at a young age while learning from his mother and grandmother needling and doing beadwork, he proceeded to get formal education at the Tshwane University of Technology. In a short time, the 29-year-old designer has caught the attention of top publications and celebrities including Boity, Bonang Matheba, Toke Makinwa among others.
According to the designer, The OM Style Avenue brand prides itself on pieces that are tailored to perfection and offer their customer luxury and opulence. It is about women who are creating their own futures.
At the just concluded ARISE Fashion Week 2018, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue‘s show was one of the crowd’s favourites. He showed ethereal dresses paired with lace and feathery accents.
This season developed on his already feminine aesthetic and gave a compelling argument for pretty dresses and bulky gowns in this age of androgyny. With the heavy detailing and divergent mix of fabrics, there was an enchanting surrealism to it all – the dresses looked like once worn, the wearer would have a transforming Cinderella moment.
Without a doubt, Orapeleng has a deep love for dainty and opulent designs – after all his ultimate muse is Princess Diana; She was way ahead of her time and has inspired so many different fashion trends that we still consume to this day. She was the epitome of class and elegance and was extremely sartorial.
Putting together such a magnificent show couldn’t have been easy; fittings, last minute hiccups, timing etc, – at that moment of truth when planning meets presentation, the skilled designer kept his calm, making sure that everything was placed where it was supposed to and the styling, immaculate.
Getting candid about his experience at ARISE Fashion Week, he said:
It was a phenomenal experience. The people in Nigeria are so warm and welcoming and being in a country that is so advanced when it comes to the fashion, beauty and entertainment, rejuvenated my spirit so much. Being a part of this showcase and experience has been so amazing and I am so proud of the power of my brand. I am also so grateful to ARISE for affording me the opportunity to be a part of this showcase and to be able to showcase my clothes on the biggest Pan-African stage.
During his time in Lagos, BellaNaija Style‘s Mary Edoro talked with the Founder and Creative Director of the luxury brand for her weekly series Millennial Designer Spotlight.
The Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue Woman
A woman loves to express her own romantic femininity; always with taste, sensibility and refinement, making the most of her own natural attributes. She is more than just a stylish woman, she reflects a lifestyle and a realm of shared passions and attitudes with a strong connection.
The Rose Garden collection which we showcased in Cape Town at the 2017 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. The time that was spent on the craftsmanship was incredible and people really received it well.
Trends are a great guideline to fashion but trends are created on the runway so, I don’t really consider trends when designing a new collection. I focus rather on making sure that my collection inspires a trend.
Must-Have Qualities of a Fashion Designer
As cliché as this may sound, but I really think passion is the most important quality that a fashion designer needs to possess in order for them to have a successful career. The fashion industry is a very tough business and people can get easily swayed by the glitz and glam. Your passion for design is what will continuously drive you in this industry and keep you motivated to maintaining your brand and growing it. Resilience is also a very important quality to have. Things don’t always happen the way we would like them to happen and we need to be able to recover quickly from those difficult encounters that we come across in our careers.
Running a Fashion Brand in South Africa
Running a profitable fashion brand. It has proven to be very difficult trying to maintain a fashion brand while trying to run and keep a profitable business. I think the industry hasn’t opened itself up as yet to recognizing fashion brands as actual businesses that have to turn a profit at the end of each financial year. So, I think that has been the most challenging thing about running a fashion brand in South Africa; keeping it profitable
Top 4 Style Icons
Serena Van Der Woodsen (Gossip Girl)
Most Memorable Fashion Moment
A blush pink chiffon dress that Bonang Matheba wore from my Spring/Summer collection with a matching hat. Immediately when she got into the outfit, she got into character and owned that outfit.
Go-To Style Uniform
A good pair of Jeans
About his Lagos Experience
Lagos has a burst of cultural experiences and luxury, I got to experience an amazing concept store, ALARA and the restaurant NOK, there hosts some of the best Nigerian dishes which I enjoyed.
You can only get what you have the courage to ask for.
Read more inspiring interviews with other young African designers on the Millennial Designer Spotlight.