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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Q&A: David Tlale – Post-Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York

David Tlale has become a designer in South Africa synonymous with outrageous designs, fantastic fabrics, creative presentations and a sense of well-deserved drama queen antics. He’s just performed a super stunt at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town, securing a street in Bo-Kaap to host is SA collection. Now we find ourselves faced with the awesomeness of David Tlale showcasing in a stand-alone show at the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York. And mind you, while he was at the big apple getting his Manhattan groove on, he was also showing at Zimbabwe Fashion Weekend.

Renaissance Men: David, there’s no stopping you. Is there any truth to that statement?
David Tlale: Yes there is, because I believe in a growing basis of re-inventing my brand, my design and myself continuously.

RM: Congratulations on becoming, evidently, the first South African designer to host their own stand-alone show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York. How was that experience for you?
DT: The experience was really amazing. It just affirmed the profile of the David Tlale brand, as our journey and goal is to become a Global brand, as well as, continue to see the David Tlale brand through the eyes of the world and conquer the fashion industry.

RM: The collection shown is much more colour-full than your ensemble for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town, but the colours are still subdued for what one would expect for a Spring collection. Can you talk us through your presentation?
DT: Colours are inspired and influenced by Sunrise Yellow to Sunset Burnt Orange, heading to Midnight Black that epitomizes the beautiful South African skyline.

RM: I’m sure it’s still early days to tell, but, judging from people who were at the showing and their reactions, what has the international response been like for your debut?
DT: it has been really positive and it gives us hope that as David Tlale the brand made in South African brand that we WILL make it internationally - it also confirms/affirms that as an African Child we are able to compete on an International stage and receive great reviews.

RM: While you were away, your collection from MBFWCT was showcased at Zimbabwe Fashion Weekend. What was it like parting with your baby and allowing someone else to manage the process of presenting it to the audience in Zimbabwe?
DT: As Head Designer, one has assistant designers with whom I work with, as a team. The assistants help manage processes when I am away, as they know and understand the mission of the brand. It is because of this fact that delegation is a less stressful exercise. Being able to delegate allows for growth. The practice of sharing responsibility allows for effortless expansion, which results in exponential growth and refined talent and this is the way forward as South Africa to grow and nurture talent.

RM: Showcasing at any fashion week takes time, money, human resources and all sorts of other bits and pieces that play a huge role. What kind of challenges did you find yourself facing having to cope with production of collections for both Cape Town and New York?
DT: Challenges are a part of life. They are the processes that refine a rough diamond. A lot of planning and partners are needed to able to orchestrate a feat such as New York Fashion Week. Many thanks to:
-       National Empowerment Fund
-       Brand SA
-       Africa Fashion International
-       Onpoint PR
-       Cadence Communication and PR in NYC
-       Umzingeli Production – Jan-Malan

RM: When are we South Africans, likely to get a taste and/or our hands on your collection from MBFWNY?
DT: Brace yourself for Mercedes-Benz Africa Fashion Week 2012.

RM: What else did you get up to on your trip to New York, this time around?
DT: Working on business relationships and concreting the presence of David Tlale in New York.

RM: What can we look forward to next from David Tlale and the brand?
DT: Watch the space…

Life is a journey, unfold yourself and let it embrace you. Nothing is impossible with God…

Thank you so much to David Tlale for taking the time to answer our questions. We’re forever intrigued as to what we’ll see next and we’re always grateful to have the brand as a fellow South African. As we anticipate a show stopping experience for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa, we, from Renaissance Men, say Good Luck and hope to see more impossibility become reality.

Please note all images are courtesy of Craig Berrit-Getty Images North.

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