BULAWAYO – Fashion designer Saneliso Mpofu, who was part of a select group of 22 designers from six countries invited to showcase their creations at the recent two-day Tshwane Fashion Festival in South Africa, attributes her rising fortunes to God.
The award-winning designer told the Daily News on Sunday that she counts herself lucky to be able to earn a living from a career she is so passionate about.
“I am a humble God-fearing young fashion designer who grew up in Pumula, Bulawayo. Fashion designing is my full-time job. All my bills I pay from fashion money and I really love my job,” said Mpofu, whose company is called Sanah designs.
Thanks to her flourishing business, Mpofu, who has participated in big events that include the Durban Fashion Fair, Intwasa Fashion Show and Matabeleland Fashion Week, recently relocated to Harare. Her clothing label Sanah Designs now has a workshop in Borrowdale, Harare.
“I am working closely with other fashion designers in Harare but I still come to Bulawayo for various fashion events and several other events,” she said.
Mpofu, who has worked with local fashion personalities who include Gilmore Tee, Tapfumanei Menege, House of Lau, Zaguesia, African Citizen and Shaith, added that she doesn’t take her newfound status for granted.
“My clothing label is now known outside the country and because of that I really have to perfect my workmanship. It also means that my work is being appreciated by people and am getting opportunities to learn more from other African countries.
“I have just received an invitation to take part in the Ghana Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival this month end,” said the award-winning fashion designer.
Mpofu’s glittering array of achievements is a story of triumph over huge odds.
“I lost my parents when I was young and my brothers Nqobile and Ntokozo became my guardians as they took me to a boarding school at Matopo where I did my ‘‘O’’ Level.
“It wasn’t very easy for me in the beginning. It was difficult to convince my family that I was dropping accounting studies in order to pursue fashion.
“But I thank God for a wonderful family as they understood me and they were the first people to believe in me,” she said.
To realise her dreams to be a fashion entrepreneur, Mpofu joined Bulawayo Polytechnic where she studied fashion designing.
“At Bulawayo Polytechnic, they gave me thorough training because they believed I was capable of doing wonders in the fashion industry,” said Mpofu.
While at Bulawayo Polytechnic where she was later adjudged the best designer of the year, Mpofu got the chance to do internships with big fashion brands like Edgars.
“I was so lucky and as soon as I became part of the designing team at Escapades, a clothing manufacturer which supplies Edgars and Truworths, Topics and Meikles, I got the opportunity to hone my skills in the fashion industry,” she said.
After leaving Bulawayo Polytechnic, Mpofu established Sanah designs in Bulawayo.
“I started my own brand as I always wanted to do things my way and produce my own range from my inspiration, give back to the community by creating jobs and also to make money by designing for people,” she explained.