Boogy Maboi is listed in the Top 50 African Next Gen influencers in On The Radar Volume 2.
From her earliest days, Lethabo Maboi has had a close relationship with fashion and entertainment. A K-TV presenter then radio host, her proximity to the industries' best, brightest and most fashion-forward combined with her lifelong fashion acumen gave her all the tools to become one of SA’s most sought-after stylists.

How did you make it into styling, and who was your first major client?

My first major client was Khuli Chana in 2007 and that was my entry into the styling business. We shot the video for Tswak Stick’em at the Nike gallery in Braam, which was such an amazing space for young creatives. I guess you could say that was when Styled By Boogy started. At the time I had a pop-up shop called Trunks and Cast that was one of the first places to stock a number of local brands. I’ve always had a huge interest in fashion. 

After my marketing degree, I wasn’t ready to step into the workforce and I needed to plan my next step. Styled by Boogy was something I started as a distraction, or rather, something to keep me busy while I figured out what I wanted to do. After the Khuli video I started working more with artists like JR (who is friends with Khuli) and from there the first brand I styled for was the UK streetwear brand Boxfresh.

So would you say that was the turning point for Styled By Boogy?

I can’t really say. I’ve been running Styled by Boogy for 10 years but I could still peak. To say that I’ve reached a turning point sounds a bit weird. Things could still change and I could be an international sensation. But I think one of the bigger moments was when I styled the Dorobucci video for Don Jazzy and Tiwa Savage, because a big part of Styled By Boogy’s success has always been styling artists from outside of South Africa.

Boogy Maboi is listed in the Top 50 African Next Gen influencers in On The Radar Volume 2.


How difficult is walking the line between adhering to trends and creating unique looks for your clients?

I have a mantra and a hashtag that I go by: be local, buy local. It’s the pledge that I’ve taken as a stylist. If you have the choice, always go local before putting on international brands. So, the clients I end up styling have a unique look because I’m going to designers who generally aren’t on a fashion week level yet - I’m talking about designers who are making things and selling them out of their boot. That’s why my clients always look unique. I also work closely with designers to make custom looks. So, for example, right now I’m DJ Speedsta’s fashion director and what that means is that I create all DJ Speedsta’s looks. I’m creating looks for him every single weekend and 90% of what he wears is local.

People come to me for a unique African aesthetic without the kitsch.

Boogy Maboi is listed in the Top 50 African Next Gen influencers in On The Radar Volume 2.


Tell us about your personal style - What defines the Boogy Maboi aesthetic?

My aesthetic is defined by how I feel. I’ve always said that fashion is an extension of your personality. I play around with a lot of things; I’m very much a tomboy when it comes to fashion. Everything in shops looks like Woolworths food - you just pop it in the microwave, but where’s the personality? So, for me, personal style is more about a feeling than what I’m wearing.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I think the fact that I’ve been doing this for 10 years is special and I would tell my younger self to keep going at it. Don’t be scared and ask a lot of questions. Ask for help. Up until this year, I didn’t have an assistant - I did everything myself. I did that because it was important for me to learn. You really need to relish every opportunity to learn - take every job, intern, make sure you can do every little thing that is required of a stylist, even from a basic level. I had to teach myself how to stitch and use a sewing machine.

Make yourself available to learn in every way. Set life is the only way you’re going to learn how to be a stylist - you’re not going to learn anything from Instagram.

* See the full On the Radar Report here: http://csa.global/thewire/

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