Having started his menswear label, Palse, in 2010 and introduced and womenswear side in 2014, Paledi Segapo is intent on ploughing back into the industry that has given him so much. Segapo aims to provide a platform for those who are new to the fashion business to learn more through The Business Management of Fashion Seminar, which takes place in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The former LISOF lecturer has often privately mentored aspiring designers and presented a mini seminar at the 2015 KZN Fashion Council. But this year, Segapo is going big with a full day dedicated to the new and emerging stylists, designers and fashion buyers.

In addition to facilitating the lecture-style day, there will be guest speakers in key facets of the industry. These include trends, brand activation, public relations, finance and styling. Segapo is a multi-award-winning designer and the person behind creating the image of celebrities like singer, Donald – who has also won the best dressed category at two Metro FM Music Awards.

In February, the designer was involved in a fashion fracas. David Tlale took to Instagram to accuse Segapo of not only stealing his intern’s design but the idea of using black lipstick on his models. Segapo responded that the design in fact belonged to another designer and he was wearing the clothes in support of the emerging talent. We caught up with the fashionista to find out more about the seminar and the beef.

How did the idea behind the seminar come about?

I really like mentoring and giving back to the emerging designers. I’ve noticed that when most designers leave school, they don’t experience business acumen. All they know about is being a part of the creative space. I’m from a corporate background and hold a masters degree but it’s been my passion to teach people about business management in fashion. I used to lecture at a fashion school so that’s another reason why I decided to start the seminar.

The seminar is geared towards practitioners like fashion buyers, who are not normally as spoken about in fashion as designers.

The point is to unpack that fashion is not only about designing. There is also pillars like fashion journalism – which is not that big in South Africa. So this seminar is not about putting all the pillars on a scale and weighing them. It’s about making people aware that there’s more to this than selling clothes.

What are the top 3 lessons you have learnt in your decade-long fashion career?

Talent is not enough. Secondly, people need to grow gradually and not be in a hurry to start their own design labels. If you look internationally, most people have started out as interns at established fashion houses. That’s where you learn the principles and the nitty gritty of the profession. Lastly, people need to learn to not just want to come into the industry because they think it’s all glitz and glam. Whether you have a spaza shop or are in mining, you must understand that that’s a business and it needs to be run with best business practices. That’s what it takes to be successful.

You have showcased your work all over the continent, what are the biggest differences between the Mzansi fashion scene and the ones in other African countries?

Fashion as a whole is different in every country. In the sense that what works here may not necessarily work in another country. South Africa is one of the few countries on this continent that actually does have all four seasons in a year. Places like Nigeria are extremely hot and for them, winter is almost non-existent. So our fashion culture is similar to what’s happening in Europe. But in other African countries, who is going to wear a fur or trench coat in a winter that might be 36 degrees celsius? That’s why it’s vital for designers to know who their market is.

You recently put out a press release denying allegations of design theft. Why was that important to you?

I always thought I got along with David. At least that’s what I thought. I’m a believer of supporting emerging designers – that’s why I would wear something from a young designer. To also put them on the platform we have. What David did was an assassination of character. He accused me of theft. I was not wearing my own design. He concluded that I got a designer to make that look for me when his intern is actually the one who stole the look from that up and coming designer because he is not known yet. He was friends with David’s intern. The point is it’s dangerous to accuse other people of theft when you know there’s no such thing. He also said I stole his black lip. When did he invent the black lip? It is inspired by goth makeup. From Marilyn Manson to the Osborns to David Bowie – all the rockstars wore black lipstick. So I’m sorry I used goth lipstick because if I’d known he invented it, I wouldn’t have touched it. I didn’t know he has a cosmetic company.

What’s next for you as a designer?

We have a TV show called Palse, The Intern coming up. It focuses on menswear designers. We will shortlist 12 people nationally. Throughout the process, the designers will be learning everything about the creative and business side of fashion. I can’t tell you when it will be on your screens but watch this space.

Paledi Segapo presents The Business Management of Fashion Seminar on March 4 at the Reef Hotel in Johannesburg from 8am. Tickets at 011 051 7224