July 8, 2019
Design

Making of a Road Less Travelled.

Making of a Road Less Travelled.

From working in the fashion industry to building my own brand

Being part of the fashion world is not an easy feat. It takes hard work and perseverance. You can start with one idea or concept and end up in a completely different genre. I never thought I would be in the fashion industry,and even less so that I would have the opportunity to help others reach their full potential in this wildly crazy and free creative industry we call FASHION.

My peers in school always told me I would become a fashion designer since I was willing to dress up and wear what I wanted, by ignoring the social fashion norm of the day. Making my own clothing and crafting something new from some old gross item my mom forced me to buy was just a hobby. But life has an interesting way of always leading back to your roots and I was blessed to be able to expand on this skill and make it my work. I studied a myriad of things but ended up in fashion, learning a couple of new tricks, sharpening some old forgotten ones and then focusing more on what I wanted to achieve in my future.

After my studies, I started working for one of South Africa's top brands ERRE fashion. Every day I learned more about how a brand is built through hard work,dedication and customer insight. Knowing who the customer is and what they want is paramount as this will guide your brand. It will aid you as a designer in creating new designs and honing in on your brand's specific look. It is not what you want to put out there. It should be what your customer or target market wants. Even though I might not be at ERRE any more, I still make time to help out where I can, because there is not much that can compare to seeing something you had a hand in making on the runway,worn by a princess or liked by thousands on social platforms.

That sheer bliss when someone admires your work so much they just have to have it, led me to starting my brand, OffBeat, which is a bespoke,hand-crafted brand. It is a brand catering for the unique, hip and vanguard woman who wants a bag and a pair of shoes created in collaboration with the client to suit her needs and desires. I work hard to make my products and get them out there. Even though OffBeat is not where I want it to be yet, I know I need to keep going to get it there. Just as I learned in my training grounds at ERRE - the harder you work, the more you achieve.

I believe one should never stop learning, be it to go out and study or to try new and interesting ideas or even just spending time with different people or in different settings to what you are used to.
This helps you as a designer to look at life differently and express more, be willing to make mistakes, share with others, have new ideas but always being able to let some of them go. Get out of your comfort zone and become more creative in mind, thought and actions.

Don't just settle for the norm, don't just take the road less travelled, MAKEIT.

Ileen Eloff