INNOVATIVE: Rubicon Clothing founder Hangwani Nengovhela in her studio, where she creates the styles that celebrities have come to love. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)
INNOVATIVE: Rubicon Clothing founder Hangwani Nengovhela in her studio, where she creates the styles that celebrities have come to love. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)
INNOVATIVE: Rubicon Clothing founder Hangwani Nengovhela in her studio. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)
INNOVATIVE: Rubicon Clothing founder Hangwani Nengovhela in her studio. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)
Hangwani Nengovhela, the local designer of Rubicon Clothing, has been in the fashion industry for more than 15 years, and continues to shine.

Celebrating International Women’s Month, South African Fashion Week hosted a designer visit, and The Star team was invited to go behind the scenes to see how the “Rubicon woman” is put together.

Established in 2002, the Joburg-based Rubicon has become one of Gauteng’s most desirable fashion destinations for women with a worldliness-inspired mindset.

The mature-style clothing embodies effortless chic, form-flattering sophistication, tailored craftsmanship and timeless designs.

INNOVATIVE: Rubicon Clothing founder Hangwani Nengovhela in her studio. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)

Having dressed some powerful personalities such as businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo, TV presenter and actress Pearl Thusi and local TV and radio personality Luthando “Lootlove” Shosha, Rubicon has become one of the country’s much-loved fashion brands.

At the Rubicon Studios in Randburg, Nengovhela said she has always been inspired by nature when conceptualising her designs.

“I love sitting in nature and immersing myself in what the universe has to offer us, and I get to put that in my designs.

“With the autumn/winter collection that I showcased last year, the theme was ‘nature’s fold of fantasy’. The print on the brocade evoked nostalgia in a different time and place with the fabric,” she said.

Months after showcasing a show-stopper dress worn by Kumalo during last year’s fashion week, she said it was a glorious moment for the brand.

Kumalo took to the runway after a 24-year hiatus in a lilac tassel-dress with movement and a flirtatious feel.

Nengovhela described the dress, made with 70m of tassels, as beautiful and comfortable.

The married mother-of-two said she was inspired to make timeless-masterpiece garments.

“I prefer timeless pieces, with great attention to detail. It’s not a garment created for the masses and is an exclusive piece in itself. It’s not like factory wear.

“There is also considerable handwork that goes into these creations,” she explained.

In terms of trends, she said she has never been one to follow the masses and believed in the power of exclusivity in fashion.

Rubicon has been participating in SA Fashion Week for the past 10 years and has showcased in Nigeria, the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, China, France and Mozambique.

“With trends, don’t do what the masses are doing. Style yourself and let the fashion do its thing. I have never been highly influenced by trends, but I try to speak to the market in order to sell.

“However, the chokers and the dark lips are trends I would like to see disappear,” she said.

The journey to building Rubicon woman has not been an easy one. Nengovhela said that in the early days, she had to close down her store in Pretoria and revisit her plans.

“From failure, you need to revise your strategy and your plans. I design differently these days. I never had a mentor, I taught myself,” she said of her fashion flair and creativity.

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