I was reading about recently departed Annabelle Neilson and how she was so important to the late fashion designer, Alexander McQueen. Not only was she a muse, but was one of the closest people in his life. And yet few knew about her role in his career.
There are some women whose impact on the fashion industry may only be known when people read their obituaries, and it’s always sad when they get the credit and love after they’re gone. With this being Women’s Month, I’m shining a light on some women who have made an impact in fashion and beauty.
I came across Asanda Sizani’s work in 2010, when she was still the fashion editor of Drum magazine. She breathed new life into the fashion pages of the popular tabloid magazine and pushed the way clothes were presented. It wasn’t surprising when she was soon snapped by the legendary Jackie Burger, to be the fashion editor of Elle magazine in 2011.
She just made history as the first black person to be the editor in chief of Glamour South Africa, with the upcoming September issue being her first. She has always been unapologetic about celebrating the African continent in her editorials and she walks the talk by making sure she wears garments by African designers. It is through her that many people were exposed to Laduma Ngxongolo’s MaXhosa brand. An early adopter, she used his garments for fashion editorials and actually wore his garments at important fashion events. Asanda is knowledgeable about fashion and the business of the fashion industry in a very meta way, something that gives her an edge in the industry.
Lethabo Maboi is a child star (she was a KTV presenter) who has blossomed and become one of the noted fashion stylists in the industry. A favourite of musicians, she is South Africa’s answer to megastylist, June Ambrose, who counts Jay Z as a client. What Lethabo, who goes by Boogy Maboi, has done for the local music and TV scene in terms of fashion styling, is prolific. She’s earned the respect of the industry thanks to the work she has done for musicians. When it comes to album cover shoots, she’s the go-to girl. Her styling work, on MTV’s Lip Sync Battle Africa and for music videos of various artists, has catapulted her into fashion stardom.
We often wonder what some people’s claim to fame is, but never get the answer. Yet we can’t help but be fascinated by them and their lives.
One such person is Kefilwe Mabote, known on social media streets as Kefi Boo. Kefilwe is probably one of the best dressed women in the country. Always immaculately turned out, she leads the pack when it comes to dressing like a star, which she has become.
A stylist to well-heeled people, she has managed to leverage her brand to become a major player in the local fashion industry and has attracted designers like Gert-Johan Coetzee and foreign brands, including Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior. She is truly one of those people who makes us sit up and notice, because she’s doing fashion influencer marketing as well as Anna Dello Russo and Bryan Boy.