Ok I’m gonna get straight to it. I spent a day with the king. Yes the king of fashion Mr. David Tlale and to my surprise he is amazing and I.m not referring to his clothes but him as a person. You see in the world of fashion, its rare to find a well-established brand/designer that’s still humane and its sad because the only way we can be successful is by having them help the aspiring designer.
We are told time and time again that the fashion industry is cut throat, has no mercy and we need to grow a thick skin off which we do. However its not always a good thing as the process of growing a thick skin eventually changes who we are and we may lose touch of our true selves and nothing kills a man more than losing himself. But that’s what the fashion industry does, you either suck it in and suck up or leave and those who maintain themselves have it hard till they break or get their big break. It’s the survival of the fittest. With that being said I found myself crying on in front of the country all in the name of pushing the hustle.
I entered a fashion competition called “The Intern by David Tlale” the other day and I came back a different person. For the first time in my fashion years, I wanted to work for someone as badly as a child wanting that Barbie doll toy. I have never wanted to work for someone for as long as I could remember and yet I found myself wanting to be under someone’s wing. Not just anybody but Mr. David Tlale.
I know I sound proud but trust me I’m not as the reason behind me not having the desire for someone in the fashion industry was due to the amount of emotional abuse we go through, from varsity, to interships to competitions. Yes its true. Fashion is not very kind to those still trying to find themselves, their calling and place in the industry and I had told myself I would get my diploma and either look for a simple job in the industry or start a whole new career because I didn’t want to come back home with a broken spirit everyday . However all that changed within in a space of minutes after meeting the King of Fashion.
Mr. David is not necessarily the perfect designer but he is the best designer according to me because of who he is. I have never met a well established designer like him that makes me want to give him my respect not because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s the honourable thing to do. He is respectful, warm, kind, sociable, accommodating, humble and down to earth In his greatness. He has no problem sharing his knowledge and lifting you up whilst building himself which is one of the reasons he is doing the internship.
So yeah I found myself crying on national tv all because after years of having to fight for everything in the fashion world, whether it were marks or approval to compete in a fashion challenge or a simple nod to ay yiu are the right track. I didn’t have to fight anymore. I didn’t have to try so hard and be something I’m not all for the sake of pushing my hustle. I didn’t have to rush or pretend but simply work on perfecting my craft. Mr. David Tlale did not cut me into pieces and break my spirit but instead said listen “you’ve this, you’ve got it going, stick with it and don’t lose sight of your vision”. As small as this may seem, it made an impact to me. It made me believe in myself again, in my dream again and for that I will forever be great full to Mr. david Tlale.
A true leader doesn’t demand respect but you respect him because you want to and that is who Mr. David Tlale is.
Let me give you a glimpse of what happened:-
08:00- Boyfriend and I arrive at the Goda Incubator fashion institute only to find out that the location has been changed to geryville racecourse
08:20-Arrive at greyville, register and wait
08:30- Realise the competition is serious and I ask my wonderful partner to fetch my red dress so I have ooptions
08:45- Red dress arrives,boyfriend rushes to a meeting and I wait together with the contestants
12:00- Mr. David Tlale arrives and comes to apologise for being late (humility at its best-RESPECT)
13:00-Lunch is served just before the competition begins
13:30-Steam our clothes and, dress the models and get ready to showcase
14:00- Competition starts
15:10-My turn to showcase and I am nervous as hell because I just realised I chose the worst dresses to showcase both technically and design but wait for it.
15:20- With the look of disappointment written on the judges face I start crying as I try to answer their questions.
In my head I’m beating myself up and asking myself what I was thinking in the first place bringing those garments when I had a beautiful range at home.
15:45- I come out of the judging with tears rolling down my face and top billing asks for an interview which I did whilst crying
15:50- Member of the crew comes to me asking me to come back tomorrow because judges have given me a second chance and then day two happens and no I didn’t cry (smile)
In the proccess of it all, I don’t recall being called names and ill treated just because I messed up as expected in the fashion world. But was encouraged whilst being positively critisised. Thats when I understood one of the things that set him apart form the rest of the South African designers and that is- finding no reason to belittle, mistreat or be rude to someone at a lower level than yours just to prove you’ve made it, he’s work speaks for himself.
Lesson learnt from the King:-
- Always believe in your dream even if you are the only one
- Never let anyone intimidate you by making you feel less able
- Take the time to learn your craft and perfect it and you will succeeed
- Don’t rush the process
- When you fall, get up, dust yourself up and keep moving
- Keep your mind in the vision
Feature Image: DavidTlale@facebook.com