Johannesburg – South African fashion designer Thando Piliso (34), of Thando Piliso Emporium, is currently in Nigeria, dazzling the Nollywood A-listers of Lagos, at The Nook International Fashion show.
He will be showcasing 20 garments under the theme, “My African Dream”.
“The theme represents my story of a young boy from Somerset, but whose work is loved all over the world. I have clients in Belgium, Switzerland, Botswana, and from all over the world. The digital platform has allowed for our work even as designers to speak to everyone across the world.”
Thando is already loving the business of Nigeria and said it inspired an upcoming range.
“Nigeria is incredible. It is already inspiring me to think of my next range. I am speaking to you live now from my penthouse, preparing for the show later tonight. The reception has been warm, the people are so welcoming and love South Africa as much as we are fascinated by Nigerian culture, languages, and the beautiful me,” he joked.
The Eastern Cape-born couture designer is no stranger to ramps and winning.
He was once named among the top eight designers at the Buyelekhaya Pan African Concert in 2015.
In his early days, Thando was mentored by designers David Tlale and Thula Sindi, to whom he gives credit for his excellence. and showcased at Nelson Mandela Fashion week in 2016. He has dressed the likes of Somizi Mhlongo, Amanda Black, Nomcebo Zikode, Zikhona Sodlaka and Zandile Msutwana.
“They (Thula and David) were a window into the real world of design. They taught me that it’s not as glamourous as it seems when the product is finished. It’s all about hard work, dreaming, researching, always being curious, and loving what you do.”
Based in Gqebergha, Thando now employs more than seven staff members, and this month he plans to open a studio in Johannesburg.
“The demand is high. People love the work. Not only because we make beautiful clothes but because we are about developing people’s self-esteem, building confidence, and making a change. Fashion is about making statements and not just slapping on anything that fits.”
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