Ode To Beautiful Black Women - Destiny Connect

Ode To Beautiful Black Women

Starting out as a designer for the iconic Stoned Cherrie to being the first African to collaborate with the Swedish retail chain, H&M, and now making a mark in the homeware and accessories spaces, Palesa Mokubung is actively weaving an African-forward fashion legacy.

Her signature style is assuredly associated with brimming elegance, uniqueness, and a confident

African sensibility that is both grounded and global. A Mantsho garment exudes power and comfortable femininity with its flowing silhouettes, informed structures, nuanced prints, earthy tones and a regal character that is playful, edgy and sexy. Palesa’s longevity can be attributed to her effervescence, a robust work ethic, and a self-assured instinct that guides her creative choices.

Founder of SA Fashion Week Lucilla Booysen describes Palesa as a creative “who has a rare quality to design from the heart.” With her brand firmly established, she is creating a wardrobe for the poised Afropolitan woman, which is continually evolving. Amidst preparations for the SA Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2022 collection that launched at the end of October, Palesa is feeling inspired and excited about her business, career and life.

“We have a couple of exciting projects and collaborations lined up for 2022, but right now SA Fashion Week is our focus. We are always excited to service our clients, particularly now that we will be opening our site to international buyers and transactions. I am grateful for every part of my life and the best moment is seeing my daughter’s face after a long day’s work,” she says.

Fashion has changed dramatically since Palesa started. The local industry has grown to find its voice and confidence, and the world has opened up for African designers and designs. Distribution portals have widened with boutiques and stockists for designers to sell from. Social media has become a point of sale and an inexpensive marketing tool.

Sustainability and conscious fashion have become key as the need to be attuned and empathetic to the changing climate becomes imperative. A fashion system geared towards ecological integrity and social justice is the goal. SA Fashion Week has long been an advocate for sustainability and Palesa’s long-term association with the event means that she approaches her creative process with an acute sustainable awareness.

“Mantsho is built on the assumption that operating in the social and economic environment will foster longevity.

We do our best to keep it in the family in order to build a legacy. My brother is our official graphic designer, and we currently employ a father and daughter. This helps sustain their household financially and feeds into our social responsibility,” she says.

“We also have a no-waste policy. We recycle fabric, lining buttons and trimmings, including paper, plastic and food in our office. The location of our store and studio was a conscientious one, too. Victoria Yards values sustainability and the ecosystem, and it was important for us to be a part of that synergy.”

Palesa is proud of her Kroonstad roots in the Free State. Her family is her biggest support system and keeps her grounded. It was her mom who suggested she try out fashion design when she was unsure what to study. Palesa comes from a creative family, so the artistic inclination is seemingly in her DNA.