NAZITO Couture brand founder, Manese Phoka believes that she was born a designer.
At the 10 years of age, Manese was already altering some of her clothes without anyone noticing. It was then that she realised that there was a strong connection with sewing which gave her satisfaction.
Manese (31) now owns Nazito Courture, a vibrant brand which caters for independent middle-aged men and women who do not care about societal comments on their dressing.
“I believe I was born a designer and a hair stylist,” Manese told the Xpress People.
“I remember altering my clothes when I was just 10. I started altering my school uniform, which I used to cut to make it tighter and shorter without anyone noticing.”
At 14 Manese was already making money by styling other people’s hair in her Ha-Mathabela neighbourhood in Quthing during Christmas holidays.
Born in Qomo-Qomong, in Quthing, Manese grew up in Ha-Mathabela village. She went to Qomo-Qomong Primary School before enrolling at Mopholosi High School from 2002 to 2007.
She later went to the National University of Lesotho’s Institute of Extra Mural Studies (IEMS) and graduated with a Diploma in Mass Communication from 2008 to 2013.
“In 2013 I was offered internship at a local media house as a radio presenter and editor and it was then that I realised that I was in the wrong profession. I knew that something was missing,” she said.
In 2015 she then applied to study Fashion and Retailing at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and says it was only then that she felt complete.
“I enjoyed my studies and my designs were stunning. My first design was even worn by Miss Lesotho and she took it to China where she represented the country.”
Manese recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Fashion and Retailing.
In July this year, she received an Excellence Award for the most Creative Range after presenting her designs during a fashion show at the university.
“This made me happy and proud. It also made me realise that this is my talent. I also realised that I am capable of doing wonders with my mind and hands.”
Manese also showcased her designs at the Royalty Fashion Experience hosted by Tgee Modeling Agency last month.
The Royalty Fashion Experience was inspired mainly by British and Africa’s most fashion-conscious monarchs.
“The Royalty Fashion Experience was challenging. I had to design 10 garments on my own and that was hectic because I usually use crotch and often make my own fabric by beading and adding embellishments on most of my designs,” she said.
For the Royalty Fashion Experience, her designs were inspired by culture and nature.