They say “doing what you love is freedom and loving what you do is happiness.” Palesa Mashiyane, 25, can definitely relate to this. After graduating with a degree in law, the super stylish entrepreneur decided to completely switch careers and do what she loved. An act of courage. “People always wonder how I got an LLB and have worked in so many facets of fashion,” she says. Palesa worked her way up in the South Africa fashion industry, first interning at magazines GQ and Glamour before settling into being a Fashion Public Relations and Account Manager at Styling Concepts in Johannesburg. Palesa is sharing her creativity and passion for fashion by bringing her labour of love to Johannesburg in the form of Palulu Love. PaluluLove is an ultra trendy, fashion and lifestyle event. Not only is the event growing in popularity but it is showcasing some of South Africa’s unsung style heroes. I caught up with Palesa to find out more about her and how she is taking the fashion world by storm.
ITA: How did Palulu Love get started? How does it work? What goes into making it happen?
PM: PaluluLove Pop Up started with my love for exclusive once off trendy designs from interesting and new buyers and designers.I saw a market for a new shopping experience where people could be exposed to once off items that couldn’t be found in a mall.Most of all I saw a need to expose new and up and coming female designers and buyers to the huge market of fashion conscious women who are always on the hunt for new unique fashion. PaluluLove has now become a platform for young designer brands to sell and grow their market.
A lot goes into making it happen. It works as a Pop Up so we always surprise people with the date and venue. People never know when or where it will happen and which designers will feature. We set up a market lounge at our rooftop venue and guests arrive to buy and see designs from each designer.The event takes place from 12 to 5pm and kicks off with a fashion show. The response has been amazing and attendance grows with each Pop Up.
ITA: What is your take on the local fashion industry?
I love our fashion industry but I’ve always felt that there are very few opportunities for new designers.Our fvarious fashion weeks constantly re use the same designers over and over with little change.I have a lot of favourite designers that are amazing and have gret support but I feel we need to grow more as an industry by providing more opportunities and avenues for our new designers.
ITA: Tell us more about the campaign to wear and support local designers? What are you doing to be a part of that?
PM: I looooooove this campaign because it is exactly what I want PaluluLove to stand for. Supporting our own home grown design,aesthetic and talent.I buy as much local design as I can.
ITA: What advice would you give to other people who want to start their own business ventures and/or wants to get into the fashion industry?
PM: Learn,learn,learn. Always be open to researching and learning from others who are succeeding in the industry. Be willing to start at the bottom. Fashion internship are the most amazing start. Do that and learn. Never ever give up if fashion is truly what you want. There is so much to fashion than designing. [There is] Fashion buying,Fashion PR,fashion styling etc.
I would tell anyone who wants to be part of the fashion business to take risks on their ideas. Never be scared to show your raw unique ideas because it could be the very next trend or hip event.Never lose confidence in your own idea. Plan and execute and so what if you fail. Try again.
ITA: There tends to be a focus on ‘safe’ careers, accounting, law, medicine etc. What has your experience been? Reactions from family/friends to you entering an ‘alternative’ field?
Oh wow my family and friends have always been scared but supportive.Scared because fashion is a risky industry.Few make it and most do not so they were skeptical at first if I could build a career out of it. But the support has always been there. They have shown me immense support with PaluluLove pop up and continue to encourage me with everything I do.My creativity has always been supported and nurtured.
ITA: Do you think enough is being done to empower women in South Africa?
PM: I believe not enough has been done for women but it is definatly improving with each initiative and action that we take as women.We’re standing up for ourselves more.we’re owning our ideas,businesses,owning our own dreams BUT women are still being portrayed more from a sexual point of view than for their minds and talent so we still have a long journey to travel towards true women empowerment.
ITA: Top 3 African countries you want to visit/have visited?
PM: Oh wow.This is my biggest dream.I haven’t but I want to visit Zanzibar,Ghana and Angola.
ITA: Last book by an African author that you read?
PM: Chinua Achebe-Things fall Apart (for the millionth time and it always strikes a chord within me.Its one of my favourite reads)
ITA: Finish the phrase: “I love being African because…”
PM: I love being an African because I can speak 4 beautiful indigenous languages from my own country.
Thank you so much to Palesa for sharing her story with us. If you’re ever in Johannesburg, make sure you stop by the event! To keep up with Palesa and PaluluLove , check them out on twitter and on tumblr!