Quiteria Atelier set to take fashion world by storm with New York Fashion Week debut
South African designer Lebogang Kekana is ready to take African fashion to the world.
The founder of Quiteria Atelier, a brand he launched in November 2019, chatted to us about his new collection, “The New Order’, and his plans for the rest of the year.
Rich in gold with striking blues, massive red and daring black, this collection pays tribute to the elements of life. It’s Kekana’s way of reintroducing himself as a solo designer after he parted ways with his former business partner, George Malelu whom he owned the brand Quiteria & George with.
“On this collection, we bring together the four elements of life (the earth, fire, water, and wing) that make a human being to co-exist. All these elements have so much profile play on our day-to-day lives. This collection is a journey of many other stories to be told,” he said.
On why he and George split, Kekana said it was about time they do things separately after being together for so long. He said their journey was exhausted, and he wanted to do something by himself.
When he first launched Quiteria Atelier, he aimed at infiltrating the international market, and things seem to be going according to plan as he was invited to showcase at New York, as well as Milan Fashion Week.
“For my debut, I’ll be showcasing at New York Fashion Week, and also do Milan. It’s incredible, and the mandate is to flourish as a black child,” he said.
When asked what people can expect when he takes on the international stage, Kekana said he’s going to cause a massive fashion distraction in the world because they’ve taken the heart out of the body.
“Everything began in Africa, I’m the heart of it all so it will be just a piece of me put back into the new order, of which I am the authority to the order.”
On how Covid-19 has affected the fashion industry, Kekana said he can’t put all the blame of the virus because textiles haven’t been existent in South Africa.
“We must not try to camouflage the real issues within the industry of fashion with Covid-19. The textile industry doesn’t exist because we didn’t instil skills for young people. It is sad because I end up using people from other countries because of the lack of implementation and skillset.
He added: "The government has failed young people in this country and I think it is important that technical education is taken seriously. We need to get people to use their hands to make stuff. When I travel across Africa, I realise that they use their hands to survive. We are a nation full of people who don’t implement, and I’d like that to change,” he said.
Quiteria Atelier will be making its New York Fashion Week debut in September this year.