IN AN era where unemployment is one of the major challenges befalling the country’s youth, 31-year-old Thakane Pebane comes out undefeated.
A holder of an associate degree in Fashion and Apparel Design from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in 2012, Thakane says she has always loved fashion designing.
She said being in Lesotho where the rate of unemployment among youth is high, she told herself that she would not wait for the government to give her a job but she would rather use her own passion. She said she got a drive to use her talent and passion to put food on the table and eventually started a business.
Speaking to the Xpress People this week, Thakane said she enrolled into the school of designing to ensure that she pursues her passion.
“Growing up, playing with dolls was one of my favourite activities because that is where I was able to flex my ability to design different outfits for my dolls,” Thakane said.
This allowed her to keep abreast with trends. As she grew up, Thakane developed an eye for fashion and began experimenting with different styles.
“I learnt to infuse old fashion trends with the recent ones to come up with eye catching outfits for people to wear,” she said.
Thakane said she recently started transforming old fashioned capes to new versions.
When she started her business, Thakane said she encountered several challenges which made her think it was impossible to start a business. after all but because of the passion she had in her art she pushed through.
“I was working alone and everything was very difficult for me. There were times when I thought of giving up but then I had to be strong,” she said.
Multitasking proved difficult for the designer as she had to design, sew and market for herself.
In 2015 after her business grew, she was forced to expand and she hired three people to assist her.
“That was a major step forward because I was now able to provide jobs to other people and my greatest vision was always to help my country curb the high employment rate through job creation,” she said.
“However, due to inadequate equipment, the staff had to give each other turns for specific machines,” she said.
She said she local designers often rely on weddings and graduation ceremonies but due to the winter season they struggle as such events are often in summer.
“That is when we get big orders so we get significant income from such events.”
Thakane however, said she has adapted and has also ventured into winter wear to ensure that her business runs throughout the year.
“I have started making jackets, capes and hats with the Basotho blankets mixed with winter fleece and people seem to love the designs as they are stylish. They also keep people warm during winter,” she said.
While the designer’s products are doing fairly well with locals, she said she hopes she can also get her designs on the shelves in local stores as well as outside the country.
“I usually specialise in women’s clothing for different occasions and customised designs. However, I look forward to having my designs in the local shops and hopefully in future in international shops including in China.”
She said she hopes to improve her machinery so that she keeps pace with technological advancements to quicken her processes.
“I also wish to stock different fabrics in bigger quantities to avoid going out to purchase them from shops when I have big tenders,” Thakane said.
Apart from all that, Thakane says half of her dream would have been fulfilled if she dresses Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso. She said once she dresses Her Majesty, multiple opportunities are bound to come her way.
Thakane was among the six young entrepreneurs who were on Tuesday awarded M33 000 each by the Chinese Embassy to boost their businesses.
“Dressing Her Majesty will give me a chance to offer jobs to more young people which will ultimately decrease high crime rates in the long run,” Thakane said.