BEST OF AFRICA: 5 Minutes with Nqobile Tshalata of Dainty Frocks
20 May 2019 ARTS & CULTURE
By Motlagae Konyana
Nqobile Tshalata is a African fashion designer and the founder of Dainty Frocks – an African Fashion couture line, co-designed by and using the delicate craftsmanship of South African artisans supporting their immense creativity, their handwork as well as their ideas, Dainty Frocks seeks to preserve the African textile tradition. Dainty Frocks label tickles our fashion senses with the cool yet gentle touch of elegance and luxury.
What makes the Dainty Frocks brand stand out from all other fashion brands in the world?
There can only ever be one Nqobile and one Dainty Frocks in the world. The designs we have and the way we put them together from craftsmanship, to getting them on people will only ever be unique to us. Yes, there will be trends that most brands can have but our interpretation of the trends will certainly differ from other brands. No matter what it is, from something as simple as a straight cut skirt, I believe that you are able to tell a Dainty Frocks straight cut skirt apart from other straight cut skirts.
What does African mean to Dainty Frocks as a brand and does your African heritage influence your fashion and how?
I love that you’ve called Africa a brand. With that being said Africa is a timeless, unique and rich brand that no one can ever claim they do not know or have not heard of. Africa has got the richest minerals and most expensive commodities amongst other things and it’s a place that could never be taken over or destroyed at any given point or situation. I am African before I am Zulu so I am greatly influenced by the modern African woman and her needs and the phases in life that she’d go through and making clothes that allow her to be bold and confident while being progressive.
Where’s your favorite place in the world for buying fabrics?
Nigeria and Mozambique.
You use a lot of African Prints – textiles in your designs, what is the significance of the prints and the colours?
I love that African prints have some sort of exclusivity to them in the sense that you may find similar prints over the years but they are seldom the same. I also love that because they are vibrant and bold and make a statement for themselves before they are even transformed. I have so much fun with them. As soon as I see it I can always tell what will look great with them.
What do you love the most about the fashion coming out of the continent?
African fashion and African designers are absolutely different. It’s the voice of Africa, the voice of our experiences, the voice of our creativity and the voice of our culture. What I love most about it is that unlike a trend it will never be outdated because its expressive of a culture more than it is of a fashion statement. There is certainly boldness in African fashion that I believe we will never ever get tired of. I also love the unity African fashion has brought about to being African because it’s not restricted to certain cultures and individuals but it is something everyone can be apart of. I also love the fact that it has shown the rest of the world how elegant, sassy and beautiful the continent and its production is.
How would you describe African Fashion in 3 words?
Timeless. Bold. Elegant.
I see on Instagram you work with a celebrities like Thembisa Mdoda, Anele Mdoda. What’s your process when you get something made for any of your clients?
When we make things we don’t make things that are only suited for one person in one environment but we make things that accommodate women in different phases in different shapes and in different environments. Women are the most amazing and versatile people in the sense that they play different roles all at the same time. A woman can be a mother, a wife, a daughter and a career woman all at the same time and we make clothes so that she can be that powerhouse while looking absolutely gorgeous and elegant in all those roles.
*If you want to find out more about Dainty Frocks and their unique designs, visit their website https://daintyf.myshopify.com/ or go to their shop in Meliville.