TONY MABASO (33)
CEO: Umoya Fashions, Johannesburg For Mabaso, fashion is less about haute couture at glamorous events and more about making clothing people can wear every day – and, from a business point of view, that’s where the real market is. He believes that even underprivileged areas like townships need fashion designers who can make beautiful garments and, in the process, share their skills and help create employment.
In 2006, this idea inspired Mabaso to found Umoya Fashions, which manufactures a range of men’s and women’s corporate suits and shirts, wedding couture and made-to-order designs. “Umoya Fashions is inspired by African tradition that’s infused with modern, funky flair,” he says. The business, which also caters to the wardrobe needs of the theatre and TV industries, prides itself on being able to make quality garments within 14 days of an order being placed.
Umoya Fashions runs two boutiques – in Midrand and Alexandra, north of Jo’burg. “We’ve trained 60 underprivileged women from our community in fashion designing and pattern-making skills,” says Mabaso.
The business also runs an annual Alex Fashion Week, as well as a daily Alex
Art Market to help designers and other creatives sell their items.
“We’ve trained 60 underprivileged women from our community in fashion designing and patternmaking skills.”