Posted on 04 November 2011.
Keneilwe Mampuru (centre) with models
In 2003, Keneilwe Mampuru started her label, Keneilwe Creations, which is primarily targeted at women who are into new, quirky, but yet sophisticated things. The designs are simplistic classics, feminine, nostalgic Urban-African garments. We sat down with Keneilwe to get an understanding of what motivated her to start her own business:
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background?
My name is Keneilwe Mampuru; I am from Atteridgeville, Pretoria. I went to Pretoria High School for Girls, and then proceeded to a private design college, which was undersigned by the Tshwane University of Technology, where I studied Fashion Design. I am currently studying with the University of South Africa (UNISA). I’ve also received assistance from SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency) in building my business.
When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I’ve always enjoyed sketching since I was still young. I’d draw a human figure and design some funky clothing for it. In high school my favourite subject was Art; I thoroughly enjoyed Art History. I’ve always had an artistic streak and absolutely loved a dash of colour in everything I touched. I have 2 sisters and we were known to be “fashionable” so it was only natural that one of us became a designer. We also loved music and looked for trendy ideas from our favourite groups, like TLC and SWV in the 90s.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
From my surroundings, I’m mostly inspired by the African woman. They all have a story to tell, from the sister rocking an afro, to the more sophisticated one with a blonde weave, slender, full-figured… there’s a special element that makes a woman, a woman!
What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
I had quit my job at a well known bank to follow my dream and honour my God-given talent. I’ve always known I’m an entrepreneur at heart and strived to show some of my peers that anything is possible. This year I was approached by TUT to coach the 3rd year students for their Internship programme.
What do you like best about South Africa’s fashion industry?
I like that we have a rich culture and are not at all shy to embrace it. We are highly spirited people and it shows in most of our designers’ work, which gives the SA Fashion industry that unique element. I also like that we are not afraid to express ourselves through colour.
How would you define your personal style?
It’s very comfortable and simple, yet quirky. I’m very reserved so my clothing style resembles that. I have my own style and choose clothing that accentuates my body shape and size. I love accessories and have a fetish for earrings; I like that they can hide those ‘dull days.’
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
To know that fashion is not only about being fashionable and knowing the latest trends. There’s more to it, like merging creativity and professionalism. Education doesn’t have an ending; they should always strive to learn new things, not necessarily related to the Fashion Industry.Reading in itself opens their minds and broadens their perspective. I would also advise them to travel, see how other continents do things. The possibilities are endless.
Keneilwe is based in Attridgeville, Pretoria. Keneilwe Kreations has a page on Facebook and a Twitter account. Her blog (http://keneilwekreations.wordpress.com) informs clients of their latest offering, developments and trends.
Contact details: Keneilwe Mampuru (Founder & Head Designer)
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone number: (012) 373 0572