A bad habit that paid off

Her fash­ion ca­reer be­gan when her grand­mother taught her to sew

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KARISHMA DIPA

CHANTELLE Busby’s love for fash­ion might have set in mo­tion a suc­cess­ful busi­ness ven­ture, but it also got her into trou­ble as a young girl.

The Joburg-based fash­ion de­signer ad­mits that in a bid to per­fect her craft, she used to cut up her mother’s clothes as a young­ster and re-ar­range them into unique out­fits for her dolls.

“This was one of my favourite things to do as a child but it used to make my mother fu­ri­ous,” said Busby.

“I was so in­trigued by the dif­fer­ent materials and would love mak­ing clothes for my dolls.”

Now this “bad” habit that used to an­noy her mother has fi­nally paid off. She now counts former Miss SA Liesl Lau­rie as one of her clients.

Lau­rie of­ten flaunts the El­do­rado Park de­signer’s out­fits on the red car­pet at many of the coun­try’s glam­orous so­cial events.

This year she made the list of the best dressed when she at­tended the 2016 YOU Magazine Spec­tac­u­lar Awards wear­ing an orig­i­nal Busby Cre­ation. The satin white pe­plum sleeve­less top and match­ing mer­maid skirt earned Lau­rie rave re­views and a quick scroll through the model’s In­sta­gram page shows she’s a fan of Busby’s work as she is spot­ted sev­eral more times wear­ing the de­signer’s cre­ations. This in­cludes a gold jump­suit and strik­ing red pant suit.

“It feels so good see­ing Liesl wear­ing one of my de­signs, it makes me feel so proud,” Busby said.

The mother of four’s fash­ion ca­reer be­gan when her grand­mother taught her to sew when she was just six-year­sold.

“My gran wore ex­trav­a­gant, fash­ion­able suits which she used to make and that is where my pas­sion came from,” she said.

“That’s when I fell in love with all things style and fash­ion and I knew from then al­ready that I wanted to spend the rest of my life as a de­signer.”

After she ma­tric­u­lated, Busby stud­ied fash­ion de­sign and man­age­ment.

Once she re­ceived her qual­i­fi­ca­tions, she worked as a fash­ion buyer at Ed­con.

How­ever, Busby felt as if her cre­ativ­ity was be­ing sti­fled a few years later so she took the plunge, quit her job and started her own busi­ness.

As she didn’t have much re­sources, she was forced to work from her grand­mother’s El­do­rado Park house where she ran her op­er­a­tions for al­most eight years.

De­spite the im­promptu work­ing space, Busby’s im­pres­sive de­signs saw her be­com­ing a hit and she built up an ex­ten­sive and loyal clien­tele.

She even­tu­ally moved into her own space at the Crys­tal Mall in El­do­rado Park where she now runs her stu­dio with the help of five em­ploy­ees.

She ex­plained that of­ten clients come into the stu­dio with a pic­ture of a de­sign which they wanted to be made – of­ten it was a photograph of a de­signer out­fit worn by a celebrity.

Al­though Busby keeps her cus­tomers sat­is­fied by giv­ing them what they want, she al­ways prefers craft­ing her own de­signs.

“I re­ally en­joy and pre­fer if some­one comes in and asks me to cre­ate a unique de­sign for them by just giv­ing me a brief de­scrip­tion of what they want. What I loved about Liesl is that she told me what she prefers but she al­lowed me cre­ative free­dom. She was al­ways will­ing to take risks,” she said.

“Th­ese cus­tomers who have unique de­signs are al­most al­ways hap­pier than those who copy a celebrity style be­cause now they have some­thing that is unique to them and is made for their body.”

As Busby has knowl­edge of the fash­ion in­dus­try, she said she prefers sug­gest­ing the type of ma­te­rial for a cus­tomer and buy­ing it from whole­salers, in­stead of them bring­ing in the fab­ric.

Once the ma­te­rial is bought, Busby takes a week to make the gar­ment.

The ex­cep­tion is wed­ding dresses, which re­quires up to two weeks to make as many of them in­clude el­e­ments of lace which takes time to stitch to per­fec­tion. Busby also make swimwear and chil­dren’s clothes.

“I get a lot of or­ders for match­ing mother and daugh­ter out­fits which I re­ally en­joy putting to­gether.”

She now also wants to cre­ate a range for plus size women as they of­ten strug­gle to find de­signs which com­ple­ment their fuller fig­ure.

“Plus size women shouldn’t just wear some­thing that a model on a catwalk or on the pages of the magazine are wear­ing, they have their own body type and there are so many de­signs which suit their shape.

“Fash­ion makes you feel good es­pe­cially if some­thing is made to fit your fig­ure,” she adds.

Her ad­vice to fuller sized girls: “Wear stretch ma­te­rial and nar­row skirts and avoid clothes with hor­i­zon­tal stripes and puffy sleeves.”

Busby hopes to dress more celebri­ties and be­lieves that now is the per­fect time to do so.

“Fash­ion in South Africa is emerg­ing on such a grand scale and I would love to be part of it,” she said, adding Char­l­ize Theron would be her dream client.

She said that from next year, she wants to host more fash­ion shows to at­tract more peo­ple to her busi­ness.

But ul­ti­mately, Busby wants to take her busi­ness around the world and com­pete on the in­ter­na­tional cat­walks.

“My dream is to show­case my de­signs to peo­ple all around the world and for them to see what we are made of here in South Africa.”

TEAM EF­FORT: Busby had to work from her grand­mother’s El­do­rado Park house where she ran her op­er­a­tions for al­most eight years. She even­tu­ally moved into her own space at the Crys­tal Mall in El­do­rado Park where she now runs her stu­dio with the help of five em­ploy­ees. CUT­TING EDGE: Chantelle Busby used to cut up her mother’s clothes as a young­ster and re-ar­range them into out­fits for her dolls

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