Her designs are bold, elegant, and funky. Most importantly they always make a statement and command attention and respect from everyone. Her secret? She is living her ream, doing what she likes best.
Meet Lesedi Matlapeng, a fashion designer extraordinaire who was raised in a humble home by down to earth parents who, thankfully, encouraged her to follow her dreams. From a tender age, Lesedi developed a strong passion for fashion. As a young girl, she would always redesign the clothes that her parents bought for her and transform them into exquisite pieces that drew the attention of everyone.
“My mom loved my designs and she was very supportive. She encouraged me to follow my dream and even paid for my training in fashion design,” says Lesedi.
So Lesedi went to study for a diploma in fashion design and modeling in South Africa, where she excelled in class and won various fashion competitions.
“I was one of the most talented and hard working students at school. I even won prizes in various competitions,” she says.
A lot of people admired her work and this encouraged her to start showcasing in different fashion shows in Botswana and South Africa. But her crowning moment was in 2008 when she won a P100, 000 cash prize in KBL’s Kickstart program. She used the money to finance her design label, Kefseddy Designs, which was founded in 2004 after she landed a high profile assignment to design the wardrobe that Miss Botswana 2003, Boingotlo Motlalekgosi would wear at Miss World. Since then, Kefseddy Designs has grown by leaps and bounds and is now recognized as one of the best design houses in Gaborone.
“I design outfits for any occasion, but my specialty is wedding gowns, evening dresses, ethnic and leather outfits as well as collaborations,” explains Matlapeng.
Fashionistas are a demanding lot and it’s challenging for any designer to meet their requirements. But Lesedi draws inspiration from the everyday challenges of her job and nothing satisfies her more than putting a smile on a customer’s lips.
“I meet people with different characters and personalities. They come to me with their problems and I learn a lot from solving their problems. My interaction with this wide array of clients inspires me to be more creative in my next designs,” she says.
Lesedi’s ability to quickly perceive her clients’ body type, taste and personality sets her in a class above the rest.
“It’s always a challenge to create the perfect design for a client. You have to study them to see what would look good on their bodies and also consider their ideas. In the end, I always follow my gut feeling and somehow I am able to create the perfect design.”
Because of her hard work and creativity, Lesedi has undertaken a number of high profile projects, among them dressing Miss Botswana in the years 2003, 2004 and 2010. She also dressed Miss Malaika 2005, Miss Tourism 2012 and Miss Universe 2010, who represented the country in Sao Paulo. She has also showcased her designs in different international platforms, including the prestigious Kenya FAFA fashion show last year.
She was recognized as the best designer for Miss Botswana 2013, best youth exhibitor in 2009 and won best business enterprise award in 2007 at the biennial BNYC service awards. What keeps Lesedi on top is her ability to maintain focus, dedication and heed advice from other professionals.
“Most importantly, I let God guide me to the right path,” she says.