Whimsical gowns that float down the runway with exquisite and intricate detailing which are flawlessly styled is how I would describe a Quiteria & George showcase. The designer duo Quiteria Kekana and George Malelu have become two of the most recognisable and acclaimed fashion icons in the country.
Loved by many of our celebrities and personalities and fresh from showcasing at the Arise Fashion Week in Nigeria, there is no doubt the brand is fast gaining mileage across Africa as well.
We get to know more about the brand and the people behind it.
How did the brand come about? It started when we met at Mpumalanga Fashion Week in 2009; we had a conversation about starting a fashion line together, and in 2014 we met again in Joburg and decided to put our words into action; and Quiteria & George was born in the heart of Joburg.
Why did you choose to focus on luxury fashion? We chose to focus on luxury fashion because of the gap and niche in the market to start presenting an African luxury couture brand that could compete with the rest of the world. Africa has always been a reference to most creative brand/people in the world, and what better way to tell stories from Africa by Africans.
Is there a story behind the way you design for the female form, and what kind of woman do you design for? We would say there is a story but we’re so blessed to have been born in this continent which is diverse in culture, tradition, religion, minerals, etc. The shapes really come from the many women across the continent and the world at large. Most of our women are curvy and thick on the bone, so we like to put our emphasis on the African body and ensure that we cater for all our curvy clients.
What is your design process? We wouldn’t say we have a design process. It really differs from each collection. Most importantly, we feed off each other as creatives. We evolve from time to time and push ourselves to be as creative and original as possible to give our clients their money’s worth.
You work with delicate and whimsical fabrics and materials. Can you tell us about your fabric choices? Women always like to feel comfortable, expensive but most importantly they like to feel beautiful. We always go for quality fabrics that not only look good or are luxurious, but they also have to be wearable and comfortable, even though luxurious is of paramount importance, especially for our clientele.
What inspires your collections? What inspires our collections is anything and everything happening around us at the time or the continent (and the rest of the world). Sometimes it’s the conversations we have with different people and our clients about pop culture, religion, traditions, disrupting global trends and celebrating African resources. It really depends because we don’t draw inspiration from one source.
Do you believe fashion should be comfortable? Oh yes, we do, because ideally we want our clients to fall in love with themselves and express it through their style, so comfort is key because they have to enjoy playing around with different textures and styles. However, it really depends on what comfortable means to an individual.
As a brand, what do you want to achieve through fashion? We want people to feel beautiful at all times, to love their bodies and have their own beautiful personal style. Beyond that we want the world to see that we can also produce world-class productions and collections.
Looking back in your brand career, how do you feel the line has changed or evolved? Looking back, we think the growth for Quiteria & George has been amazing. What’s so dynamic about this partnership is having a second eye to each of our creative perspectives and thought process. It has allowed us to be our own critics, especially when it comes to conceptualising and challenging each other.
* Connect with Quiteria & George on Instagram: @quiteria_george