Local designer David Tlale
David Tlale's show at the 2009 New York Fashion Week was described as 'a return to beautiful - with an African twist'.
Comments like ‘[the] breathtaking way the clothes moved – independent of the wearer’, clearly illustrate how well David Tlale’s show at the 2009 New York Fashion Week was received. For Tlale it was exciting ‘beyond expectation’ to show his Cultural Intimacy collection in New York. Tlale says he pulls out all the stops when it comes to the runway. ‘There is no room for mediocrity.’ Entering the venue, you were drawn into an atmosphere of subdued, shadowy green light and mist. New York fashion publicist Tamara Walker said ‘It drew you in and kept hold on you throughout. ’ She describes the clothes as ‘a return to beautiful – with an African twist’ while Michael Clements called Tlale a ‘very creative, young cosmopolitan, breaking the mould of the African tradition’.
In the show, Tlale highlighted his appreciation of fading cultures like the San. He used a gorgeous selection of earth-toned silks and sisal brocades, and added structure and texture with silk fringing, pleating, and draping. Ostrich eggshells were transformed into jewellery and Kalahari beads hinted at the culture of the region.
Fashion found David. During school holidays and Saturdays he worked as a shampooist in a hair salon. He briefly studied auditing before meeting design students who turned him on to fashion. In 1998 he graduated with a degree in design from Vaal University of Technology. Apart from fashion, David loves big family Sunday lunches and is an active Christian – teaching Sunday School and singing in the choir. He is also an ambassador for the Change-4-Ever programme. He likes to spend time with people, rather than just giving a dress to be sold on auction. ‘Charity does not improve people’s lives. Development programmes impart skills, get kids to school and teach them how to sustain themselves.’
Highlights of his fashion life include winning the 2009 Designer of the Year award at the Arise Africa Fashion Awards, and designing a show-stopper for international model Jourdan Dunn. ‘Then the TD brand exploded and the media locally and abroad embraced it in a very beautiful way,’ he says. For David, the most thrilling part of any show is the end, when all the models walk the ramp together. It is then he feels his story is told...