A young woman based in Vhembe district, Limpopo, Phophi Mudau – or Poppy as she is affectionately known – took the fashion world by storm when she launched her brand, PDesignsSA in Louis Trichardt in 2013. The launch attracted many event sponsors and fashion lovers who believed in her dream. The event and business venture was the first of its kind in the district at that time.
“Traditional clothing is at risk of not being recognised by the future generation. So, I am as much doing business as preserving Xitsonga and Tshivenda cultures through my creations as a fashion designer.”
This designer from Matanda village in Nzhelele, who has since moved to Louis Trichardt, started her brand with just a sewing machine, some Xitsonga and Tshivenda traditional fabric and a small space in her bedroom.
“I have turned the garage at my apartment into a studio where customers can walk in, buy items, or request customised and personalised cuttings for both men’s and women’s apparel. This can range from formal wear to casual wear, uniforms, work suits, bedding, home wear and accessories.”
Mudau started off as an image consultant about six years ago, but she decided to follow her dreams and subsequently launched her own fashion line, PDesignsSA.
“We strive to produce superior quality products with the PDesignsSA. The clothes I make allow people to express every version of themselves at the same time. I’m set on using as many of South Africa’s beautiful traditional fabrics as possible to create garments that speak to the soul of our country.”
When she initially launched her brand, attire such as formal shirts incorporating traditional designs were not that popular in the region. Today, most people in the region wear these clothes when attending special occasions.
Poppy obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Venda and she is currently pursuing a qualification in aesthetics at an art school to improve her knowledge and skills about the anatomy of drawing and design.
“After completing my university degree, I had to grapple with the gap period of two years as I struggled to get a job. I then initiated an image consultating business which I have since put on hold to fully focus on PDesignSA.”
Poppy strives to produce superior quality products with the PDesignsSA touch.
However, when she started out with PDesignsSA, her main challenges were a lack of access to capital, space and machinery to manufacture products. She struggled with the retail aspect of the business and access to the market in this sector.
“I overcame the challenges by learning everything along the way since I did not have any business background experience. My waitressing experience has been helping me to deal with customer service.”
PDesignsSA was a winner of the Beautiful News accolades. This gave our brand exposure to attract international clients and local stars such as Florence Masebe, Basetsana Khumalo, Limpopo Department of Health’s MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba, actress Rami Chuene and influential women in various sectors.
“Beautiful News is a platform that releases positive stories about South Africa. It sources and shares stories of comfort, hope, inspiration and success to celebrate the diverse, authentic and unique people of South Africa.
“Winning this accolade gave us an opportunity to advertise our brand at OR Tambo, Cape Town International Airport and in South African Airways planes.”
PDesignsSA is available on most social platforms and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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