Ricochet News

Up-and-coming local fashion designers given an opportunity to grow their talent

By Afikile Lugunya - Oct 10, 2017
Up-and-coming local fashion designers given an opportunity to grow their talent

A local fashion designer, 24-year-old Zola Booi, who grew up in a small rural town in the Eastern Cape with less opportunities, but was still able to grow his business even after failing to complete his tertiary education, is currently running workshops aimed at helping emerging fashion designers from Port Elizabeth get established as entrepreneurs.

The three-month Fashion and Entrepreneurship Training Programme is aimed at supporting fashion and business-minded individuals, who have applied for assistance from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Sedaor the Hope Factory.

Selection of candidates from a database supplied by the SEDA and the Hope Factory was conducted last week. This week, the workshops kicked started and is expected to run until mid-December, when a fashion competition amongst the candidates will be held.

“We’re looking at people that have either started their businesses or have business ideas that they would like to precisely pursue in fashion designing or in something similar,” Booi describes.

“Normally you generally find people who don’t have formal education, it’s not our job to give them formal education. Our duty is to expose them to the panel of institutions that offer services to entrepreneurs, financially and non-financially and what will happen is that there will be a five-day workshop that will include these NGOs and NPOs."

Booi says that they were looking for forty male and female candidates, from the ages of 20-30, who are Port Elizabeth residents and, who are willing to commit to the development of their community for at least five years.

“The winner will be taken to the procedures of the bursary on completion of his or her qualification will be given an opportunity to be exposed into the world of fashion and business, and will be working under me in my company as an assistant designer," he describes.

“After six months, they will be funded by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to start their own business.”

Who is Zola Booi?

Zola Booi grew up from Lady Grey - a very small rural town in the Eastern with less opportunities, but currently resides in Central, Port Elizabeth.

In 2012, he studied business management at Damelin, but had to drop out due to financial constraints - though he passed his 1st and 2nd year outstandingly.

That did not break his spirit and in 2014, he started his fashion business.

“I always had passion for fashion and in 2014, I decided to start my own fashion business, which has grown so much from then to now,” he says.

Booi adds that he didn’t study for fashion, but he used online tutorials and old sewing machines to make clothing.

“I taught myself how to sew and started by learning alterations - even my matric clothing, I altered them myself. So, I’d say that I am born with the skill, I’ve got an eye for clothing,” he says.

In 2015, he was funded by the NYDA with a R10 000, which helped his business grow to what it is today.

His talent has not gone unnoticed. Hence, he has designed for Litha Booi, who is best known for his role in the mini-series that used to play on SABC1 called uGugu no Andile; Asanda Mqeki, a South African Jazz singer as well as BayTV presenters.

The fashion and entrepreneurship training programme is his idea to help others to realise their dreams.

“By this fashion and entrepreneurship training programme, I want to give back by saying that I know the struggle of the road of establishing your own business.

“I know the journey of the informal side of establishing your own business because we are not all fortunate to have formal education, but sometimes there are circumstances that push you to be ultimately your own tutor or facilitator," he explains.

Booi says there are many people, who can mark their mark in the industry, but they do not know how to go about the industry.