Khanyi MalimelaQ: Please state full name and label?
A: My name is Khanyisile Lindiwe Malimela and my label is called Khanyi Malimela.

Q: How long have you been in the creative space?
A: My brand was established in 2013. Before that I worked as a stylist for Hilton Weiner and a Visual Merchandiser for Edgars.

Q: When did you first fall in love with fashion?
A: I’ve been in love with fashion all my life. Watching my mother getting dressed to go to dinners with my father. My mother also used to sew when I was younger and I think that had a big influence on me.

Q: What kind of woman do you design for?
A: I design for the woman that already has a sense of style. She is not swayed by the latest “in” thing. She takes a trend and incorporates it into her already existing style. She is that typically grounded middle class woman who is classy and trendy.

Q: What has it been like to be involved with dff program?
A: The DFF program really knocked a sense of prioritizing in me. Some times as a designer you can be so scatter brained. I learnt to manage my time better and to work orderly. It was both fun and stressful at the same time.

Q: Tell us about your internship in Milan?
A: Milan was amazing! The lifestyle, the food and most importantly the fashion! One would expect it to be a city where everyone is just so busy working, no time for anything. Instead, it is a place where people enjoy life, fashion and food. People in Italy enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I learnt a lot from the Internship. One of the most important things is QUALITY. Quality cannot be stressed enough. Italians analyze garments and they judge them from the inside first, before they make a comment about the entire garment and the style. Quality is upper most. Once quality has been instilled, then it must materialize into money. At the end of the day once must make money from their craft. Aesthetics are simple, but they do not compromise on quality and fabric.

Q: How was it being able to attend Milan Fashion Week?
A: It was a privilege to be able to attend Milan Fashion week. I got to see the best of the best live. The fashion of the Milanese people really caught my attention. It was edgy and sophisticated at the same time. The whole experience was surreal. The fashion is not over done, its simple and classy, everything that I believe in.

Q: What did you learn in Milan that you want to apply to your business in SA
A: What I will apply to my business that I learnt in Milan is to always put quality at the forefront. People are not stupid, they know when you have gone the extra mile. Finishings are of the utmost importance. People will appreciate you for the minor details that you pay attention to. Its not about being wild in design. Its about execution and correct fabric choice.

Q: A Lil birdie told me that you have a clothing store now. Is that true?
A: LOL! I am working on opening a shop. When we launch it, you will be the first to know. I promise. For now I’m just operating from home and selling via social media.

Q: You will be showcasing your designs this year at DFF, what has been your inspiration for this years collection?
A: My inspiration for this year’s DFF came a lot from what I saw in Italy. I am using one simple colour palette which is grey and white. When I was designing this collection I went back to that place in my mind when I was in Italy and saw all the simple silouettes executed so well. So fabric choice has played a big role in this collection. I’m using the same fabric throughout. Structured dresses and skirts with some lace and embellishment.

Q: What are the future plans for your label?
A: My future plans for my label is to establish a fir base here in Durban, and then I would like to expand and eventually open a shop in Johannesburg and Cape Town.