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AVING started his ca­reer al­most a decade ago, David Tlale is more than just a house­hold name he has be­come an in­ter­na­tional brand as he is the first lo­cal to show­case at New York Fash­ion Week.

The de­signer has celebri­ties fall­ing over them­selves want­ing to be dressed in his threads.

But now or­di­nary clien­tele can feel adorned in his garb, as he takes his ready-to-wear range to on­line store Spree.

Part of our brand plan for this year is to go dig­i­tal. Peo­ple want to con­sume and wear David Tlale gar­ments, but un­for­tu­nately we aren t avail­able ev­ery­where. So, the dig­i­tal move is to bring David Tlale to the peo­ple with af­ford­able ready-towear items. When the op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate with Spree on an ex­clu­sive line for their clien­tele, as well as ours [arose], I just couldn t let it pass, he says. He prom­ises that there will be a lit­tle some­thing for ev­ery woman out there. It would be silly of me to sin­gle out just a few pieces as I truly be­lieve this is a col­lec­tion ev­ery Spree woman would de­vour. There is lit­er­ally some­thing for ev­ery­one and th­ese pieces are just amaz­ing. My in­spi­ra­tion for this range comes from watch­ing peo­ple on the bustling streets of the city. City peo­ple are a won­der to watch. The cul­ture, the build­ings can pro­vide so much in­spi­ra­tion. So for Spree, we looked within and are cel­e­brat­ing our her­itage. We cre­ated a spe­cial print, which we be­lieve strongly speaks of who we are,” he says.

He col­lab­o­rated with retail store Le­git a few years ago, but only as a once off. This new ven­ture is more per­ma­nent.

He was also the head­line de­signer at the MercedesBenz Fash­ion Week Joburg which kicked off at the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion cen­tre on Thurs­day and ends to­day. Tlale started his fash­ion ca­reer in 2003, af­ter win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion.

As a kid grow­ing up in the town­ship of Vosloorus, East of Joburg, I was

sur­rounded by a com­mu­nity of stylish peo­ple my im­me­di­ate and ex­tended fam­ily as well as our neigh­bours.

Peo­ple al­ways looked their very best, es­pe­cially on Sun­days. I al­ways looked for­ward to each Sun­day to just ad­mire their im­pec­ca­ble styles.

Then I un­wit­tingly reg­is­tered to study In­ter­nal Au­dit­ing at Vaal Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (VUT). Each day I went past the fash­ion class I would se­cretly want to swop places with them. Then one day I de­cided that was it. I made the move to the fash­ion depart­ment and haven t looked back since then,” says Tlale.

Tlale says his lat­est col­lec­tion was also in­spired by African artistry that em­bod­ies all that is aes­thet­i­cally mys­ti­cal, spir­i­tual, emo­tive and of course star­tled re­sponses

I am moved by the hu­man body in African cul­tural cus­toms. Body paint­ing, masks and other African artis­tic forms of ex­pres­sion that visu­ally trans­form the hu­man form to an­other re­al­ism. I want to cre­ate an ap­pear­ance so beau­ti­ful and so­phis­ti­cated that it can­not be sep­a­rated from func­tion and the mean­ing of lux­ury. I want to reach a broader au­di­ence and cap­ti­vate a new mar­ket and si­mul­ta­ne­ously ap­peal to a global mar­ket,” he says.

Of­ten com­pared to in­ter­na­tional singer Miguel in the looks depart­ment, Tlale says he is much more fab­u­lous.

Miguel should feel so flat­tered. He re­sem­bles a charm­ing African with good genes. LOL!”

Tlale, who re­fuses to di­vulge his ac­tual age, says he is in­spired by the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier, the bold sil­hou­ettes at Alexan­der McQueen and the edgy and mod­ern ap­proach Bal­main has brought to fash­ion.

As for fu­ture in­ter­na­tional fash­ion shows, he says we need to watch this space.

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