Third year Commercial fashion student Kholofelo Mokgata is getting geared up for the “real world”. She says that being at LISOF has taught her about persistence; it has equipped her with networking skills and opportunities to work with major industry professionals such as LISOF’s very own lecturer Noni Gasa. She talks to me (Phendu Kuta) about her current frame of mind and future possibilities.
FACTS PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT KHOLOFELO:
I’m quite an open book hey. People who are close to me know that I’m reserved and a bit shy at first, but once I’m comfortable around someone I can talk your ear off! When given the opportunity, I do express myself freely and loudly. Oh and I’m 27 years old, a lot of people are surprised to learn that I’m actually 27.
WHAT ARE THE MOST VALUABLE SKILLS YOU HAVE ACQUIRED AS A LISOF STUDENT?
People skills; I am more confident in my ability to communicate effectively with people in order to build productive interactions of trust and respect. The opportunity to interact with industry professionals has also taught me how to network. And most importantly, I am constantly learning that persistence is everything in the fashion game.
THIS IS YOUR FINAL YEAR AND THE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER, ARE YOU NERVOUS FOR THE FUTURE?
Not anymore. I was extremely nervous and anxious at the beginning of the year though, but I have been telling myself to focus on first things first lately i.e. getting this qualification. What is meant to be will be.
DO YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR, IF YEAH, WHAT IS IT?
I do. I would love to begin my fashion career in retail; therefore I am looking at anything in the business management of Fashion. I will be grateful for whatever opportunity that comes my way, whilst pursuing my writing on the side of course! I intend to continue to write for anyone who is willing to give me the opportunity and to sharpen my writing skills by enrolling for a creative writing course.
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE IN FASHION SO FAR.
The Platinum Group
I worked as a full time stylist at Hilton Weiner, in visual merchandising, customer care and the entire running of a clothing store at operations level
The opportunity to write an in-store trend report for ifashion came about after meeting the passionate and friendly Angie Hattingh, former editor of iFashion With the guidance and encouragement from Noni Gasa, Sarah Badat and Angie Hattingh I wrote my first published article for South Africa’s leading fashion website!
I was a Stylist Assistant; assisting Noni Gasa on the December 2010, Top Billing Magazine shoot, with Anele as the cover model. I gained so much knowledge and was exposed to so much in just that one-day shoot!
I was also fortunate enough to assist Noni Gasa for the July issue of FAIRLADY Magazine 2011- the “SA’s star designers dress our starriest celebs”, shoot. My duties involved taking behind the scenes photos and helping with photo shoot logistics. I even got a short photography lesson from phenomenal photographer: Marguerite Oelofse. I feel very fortunate to have been mentored by the South African style icon, Noni Gasa.
Noni Gasa with Reggie Molamu of Reggie Star and Fairlady fashion editor Chu.
WHO DO YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO WORK FOR NEXT YEAR OR IN THE FUTURE?
I definitely want to work for Woolworths and iFashion on a full time basis; Style.com and even Vogue, US one day. But I am more interested in getting started, where I get my start is irrelevant right now, wherever I get a break will be the ideal job opportunity for me.
WHICH UNIQUE ATTRIBUTES OR SKILLS DO YOU THINK YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO A FASHION BUSINESS?
I believe the unique attributes that I possess are: honesty, passion, ambition, strong-will, determination and diligence. As a “late bloomer” in finding my career path, I am very much aware of my abilities, limitations and where I am going. The skills I have acquired working in retail would also contribute positively to any fashion related working environment.
YOU HAVE AN IN-STORE RETAIL TREND REPORT COMING UP. WHAT IS THE REPORT ALL ABOUT AND WHERE CAN PEOPLE READ IT?
Basically I hit the stores to see what the predominant trends are at the moment. I tell readers where to find these trends and provide them with different pricing information, background knowledge on the popular trends and how to dress according to the trends, so their shopping experience is a breeze. My latest article should be live any day now, on iFashion. To see Kholofelo’s article on iFashion, click HERE
P.S. LOOK OUT For Kholofela’s feature in Protégé Vol.1