Tips on How to Create Your Own Design Space

posted on November 13th, 2014 by LISOF

Create your own design space

You’ve completed your fashion design course and are ready to face the competitive world of haute couture. You are in the position to reminisce on the days where you spent hours in garment construction classes or revising the history of fashion for your exams and assignments. You are not afraid of dreaming big and you feel that you are capable of turning your dreams into a reality.

Equipped with courage, a comprehensive qualification and your aspirations, you are ready to stake your claim of South Africa’s ever-evolving fashion circuit. (more…)


posted on November 5th, 2014 by LISOF


As LISOF celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we caught up with ex-Lisof student and prominent fashion designer Faeeza Khan. After studying Actuarial Science, Faeeza decided to pursue a degree in fashion. Raised in an academic household and community, she quickly gained the support of her family, who recognised her creative talent while she was still young. From interning to running her own business, Faeeza becomes the ideal candidate to question about the business of fashion.



posted on October 30th, 2014 by LISOF


Marianne Fassler’s work has been respected by dignitaries from all over the world because of the authenticity in her heritage. One could place her name next to the likes of Vivienne Westwood, and appropriately so, as her designs convey her legacy, political commentary and passion for craftsmanship. After years of working her way to the top, Marianne Fassler has created a legacy built on a solid foundation.

I had to understand how a designer can believe in their country so whole-heartedly, making it the driving force behind her successful career. On growing up, Fassler says, “I learnt to appreciate a lot of things that most would take for granted nowadays, and for me that would be a sense of identity. A sense of identity that reflects where I come from by putting me in the context of my own personal history, where I live and how I see myself in a place. This gives me, as a designer, a sense of integrity. I grew up in a home which fed my creative intelligence with artists and politicians roaming the halls. My parents were very tolerant and, as a young Afrikaner, I didn’t just grow up in my own culture. They taught me to ‘think global’ from a young age and from there on, I was open to explore different political movements, cultures and religions as a young woman. I have seen this country going through rough times, and even through the bad times I have always felt like an African.

She speaks of identity with passion and wisdom, adding, “I think if fashion truly reflects who you are it will always reflect a sense of identity. We as South Africans need to be mature enough to own our identity as individuals who want to be seen and respected”.

“It’s strange how our young designers spend more time on the internet looking for inspiration when Africa is a perennial jungle of inspiration for Europeans and Americans and yet here we are looking abroad to discover that ‘print’ is in fashion”.

“Young people need to be more conscious of their country. We need to acknowledge how far this country has come and start to recognise talent for what it is. I believe as a fashion designer you should reflect where you come from”.

Changing to the topic of fashion, Marianne says everything starts on the streets. “Not only in the streets of Africa but on the streets of Paris. Yves Saint Laurent created a perfume called The Left Bank. He said, on that side of the river, there are far more interesting people. The people on the Right Bank never socialised with the others from across the way but then the music started happening on the Left Bank. People went because Yves St Laurent said that creativity could be found there. He then created his best works inspired by those people, inspired by the streets and it was fresh. He was inspired by the vibrancy of life found in a place which had been stripped of all the façade of modern society and diplomacy”.

“You have to learn the language in order to change perception. As designers; as trend analysts, you need to learn your context within the fashion industry in order to stay relevant and distinct in this industry, especially on a global aspect”.

“Educate yourselves with intelligent material such as writings by academic writers such as Vanessa Friedman because they will always contextualise fashion in a way for you to utilise it in your life”.

Marian Fassler may be an inspiring designer, but who does this pillar of fashion authority look up to?

“When looking at designers like Rei Kawakubo, these people know their work is collectable. They understand that their designs no longer belong to them. Instead they are a craft which they give to others in the form of a garment. I believe in this. I believe in the craft. I believe that as a designer you need to understand the basics before you can subvert from the rules. You can subvert but only after you know your context.”

“The beauty of fashion is that it allows you to explore and to grow, but you also (in the process) need to earn a living. You need to be able to verbalise what you want and who you are”. She explains that fashion is a form of empowerment and this fuels her teachings to young designers, “If you understand how you have given people tools to better articulate themselves in social interactions, they will come back for more and more garments. You need to be who you are from the start. If you give your clients a piece of yourself with a lot of respect, they will always buy into the integrity of the designer. It then becomes a relationship built on the fundamentals of brand loyalty”.

Although Fassler has had much success, she stays humble and can openly speak of the difficulties in this cut-throat industry,” The challenge is really to maintain face in the limelight. When people start buying into who you are as this young talent, you need to stay strong and maintain what your purpose was in the bigger scheme of your own goals. You need to be able to push through, but this isn’t possible if we also don’t have mentors for our designers. We need to mentor our students in order to ensure they are well groomed for the global stage. We can’t fill our designers with thick clouds of smoke when we haven’t fully armed them for the international design arena”.

“The beauty of fashion is that it allows you to explore and to grow, but you also (in the process) need to earn a living. You need to be able to verbalise what you want and who you are”.

“At this stage of my career, I don’t want to be a part of a big global brand. I am happy in what I have. I love the students I have had passing through my doors. I have had students from Finland, living under my roof, with all of their expenses paid for because their governments supported their endeavours and have carefully looked at the economic benefits of supporting the creative minds in their countries”.

Her ideals are selfless but she admits she cannot do it alone. “This is where the DTI needs to help our students and support our fashion industry. Mentorship programs are a real learning facilitator for any and all creatives, whether it is fashion, art or design. These young minds need to be continually challenged instead of constantly adored when the hard work has yet to be accomplished”.

As we come to an end to our chat, I again ask her how her upbringing defines her as a designer; “My upbringing was put together by my supportive parents and community. I can tell you with confidence that I am an Afrikaner woman because that is who I am. I do not believe in stereotyping. I believe in education. I was raised in a time when teachers were Gods and hard work was revered. My background taught me versatility. It taught me the power of a strong mind when armed with perseverance. My background has taught me to question and inform myself in order to equip myself better”.

Food for the soul.


By Siviwe James

Make Your Mark in Sunny South Africa

posted on October 29th, 2014 by LISOF

Make Your Mark in Sunny South Africa

Whether you are completing your fashion design course, have a variety of clients or are looking to make your mark, now is the time to do.

The industry celebrates the notion that your success is determined by your attitude and the manner in which you go after your dream. Whether you’re a student, entrepreneur or freelancer; ensure that you make your mark on this sunny country that we call home.

Fashion, photography or makeup courses equip aspiring artists and designers with the necessary skills to pursue their dream careers; however, it is the preparation for such a career that counts. Why not market yourself and your craft if you’re looking to make your mark on the South African arts scene? Whether you’re a student who works as a makeup artist over the weekend or a qualified designer, positive publicity is the key to obtaining your dream professional status. A Facebook page or informal business card can catapult your name towards the limelight of the industry.

Whatever your beat, recognition is always a sign that your hard work is paying off and what more could a rave review say about your career? You never know who might be looking for an artist or designer to do some work – not only does this give you validation as an artist, it also gives you the opportunity to build up a professional portfolio with a reliable stamp of approval. Make your mark by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Get Creative with Your Identity

Making your mark is all about getting creative with your professional identity. Whether you are studying and working on various projects or producing unique products, a unique concept will drive your brand forward. Artists and products that are best received are those that have a unique identity and that speak to a variety of different audiences. Give your work a name, brand your products and create your own path for success. It is also important to place contact details on any sort of marketing that you do for yourself as this will ensure that you are accessible to potential clients who might request your services.

Step 2: Connect with Likeminded People

Maybe you’re an aspiring wedding dress designer or a fashion photographer – ensure that you connect with likeminded people. Find your way to wedding shows or exhibitions of interest in your field, and make an effort to introduce yourself to a variety of people. Not only will this provide you with the necessary contacts to boost your career, you will also promote your own name. Mingle with people who can offer enriching advice, those who will encourage you to push your own limits. Attend fashion shows, gallery openings or exhibitions where you can connect with a multitude of different people. Create a ‘little black book’ in which you can collect various business cards, jot down contact details and make note of important events. As time goes by and your book thickens, you will learn to value the connections that you have made over the years.

Step 3: Make the Best of Your Available Resources

Facebook and Twitter are two of the easiest platforms to use in terms of free and effective marketing. Take photos of your work and post them onto your page to advertise your work. Not only will this enlighten people as to what you do, it will also create an opportunity for potential projects. If you have access to the necessary resources, build a website to showcase your journey as a fashion design student or create a photo blog that showcases your digital portfolio.

Whatever you aspire to be – a fashion designer, stylist, photographer or makeup artist – ensure that you make your indelible mark. It is never too early to begin showcasing your work and connecting with those who appreciate it. If the realm of design is where your thoughts venture, send an email to LISOF at for more information.

Get a Higher Certificate in Fashion from LISOF

posted on October 26th, 2014 by LISOF

The Higher Certificate in Fashion is a fully accredited 18 month night school programme that offers a viable alternative to full-time study and a wide range of subject choices relating to fashion, from the design disciplines through to business courses. Our courses have been developed by leaders in fashion and retail with a view to giving you the most progressive and relevant education in the business.

Our balanced curriculum provides a solid foundation in all areas of the fashion industry – commercial, creative, technical and contextual. It will also provide seamless access for successful graduates to the Diploma in Fashion or the Bachelor of Arts in Fashion programmes.


Download our full course brochure and find out why you should apply for our Higher Certificate in Fashion or contact us to book your assessment and find out more about our fees.


part-time-night-school-higher-certificate-in-fashion - cover

Part-time Short Courses offered at LISOF

posted on by LISOF

LISOF’s part-time short courses are a viable alternative to full-time study and could be the beginning of your journey into the fascinating worlds of fashion and beauty.

There are short courses in Fashion Photography, Garment Construction, Pattern Design, Fashion Design, Make-up and Adobe® Illustrator & Photoshop.

They are presented at our campus in Johannesburg over a period of 20 Saturday mornings.



Need more information about our part-time short courses? Download the relevant brochures below and find out why you should apply to one of Part-time short courses or contact us to book your assessment and find out more about our fees.


Part Time Adobe® Short course |  High Res | Printer Friendly
Part-Time Fashion Design Short Course |  High Res | Printer Friendly
Part Time Fashion Photography Short course |  High Res | Printer Friendly
Part-Time garment construction (sewing) Short Course |  High Res | Printer Friendly
Part Time make-up Level 01 Short Course |  High Res | Printer Friendly
Part-Time Patternmaking Short Course |  High Res | Printer Friendly


posted on by LISOF

“The kind of people who should go into fashion design are ‘M.A.D.’, motivated, ambitious and driven. Ultimately, qualification and attitude are important”

– Shana Rosenthal, LISOF Founder


It’s true. It is with Shana’s strong vision and the commitment of quality lecturers that LISOF has cutting edge institution, which reaches new heights with each passing year.This wasn’t without initial struggle though.

Shana’s entrance into the fashion industry was far from conventional. During her travels abroad, she ran out of clothes and decided to start creating her own designs. According to her, she chose fashion over fine arts as, “fashion design presents a challenge in the combination of art, fabric and figure. It’s an analysis of figure and a decision on the most suitable lines for that figure.” At the age of 35, Rosenthal got her big break and was offered 35% share in a new business venture – LISOF . This turned out to be the best move for the young creative as she could finally pay it forward and give South African youths a place to cultivate their creativity. This unique opportunity came with a price as she turned down the chance to study at the acclaimed St Martin’s School of Art in London. So, instead of going to a design school, she opened up her own where her vision was “to see an art college established with links to the correct cultural sources in Europe”, yet with a proudly South African spirit to “develop our own ethnic culture in clothing”.

Today LISOF holds a very prestigious name in the industry ; having produced some of the countries most talented individuals such as Don Simelane , debuting with his revolutionary x-ray inspired garment at the Smirnoff Fashion Awards. Others include Thula Sindi, Nadia Osman and Suzaan Heyns, just to name a few. LISOF’s success can be judged on the calibre of student that graduate from business lecture rooms or the pattern making studios. This was clear from the beginning, as early as 1995 LISOF students started cropping up, winning the Smirnoff International Fashion Awards. More recently Jenevieve Lyons and Elli-Nicole Sazeides were finalists in the Elle Rising Star Competition.

LISOF prides itself on the raw talent of the students. The Fast Track programme enables the top ingénue’s from LISOF to showcase at Mercedes Fashion week in Johannesburg. The aim is to give the newcomers a chance in this very competitive industry. This initial boost in the industry is vital and LISOF uses the power of collaboration to help budding designers. In 2011 LISOF Trend Analysis students were given the chance to write reports about the trends spotted on the runways of SAFW. Companies such as Blackberry have served as real-life clients for students, as they faced the project of creating a clothing line for the international brand. LISOF also partners with Elle Magazine, offering bursaries for the winners of the annual Elle Fashion Bursary Competition.

“people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it

One of the many design briefs which have been successfully accomplished was the SHIRTS into SKIRTS. Students such as the renowned Roman Handt used paper products to create skirts. Students were encouraged to experiment with different materials. Experimentation is one of LISOF’s key mottos in pushing students to think outside the box. This approach has also given birth to another well executed concept – where students used old pantyhose as fabric to create gypsy-styled garments.. Different techniques such as silk-screening, embroidery and dyeing were used to create the final finish to this ‘rags to lace’ collection. The collection found its footing when it debuted at SA Fashion week.

Through the years LISOF has given back to the community, partnering with the Tomorrow Trust. This organisation enables disadvantaged and orphaned youth the opportunity to succeed in secondary and tertiary education. LISOF has accepted several of the Tomorrow Trust students, leading to the LISOF Bursary Fund. In 2012 the Tomorrow Trust Bikes-4-Bursary initiative, used cycling jerseys designed by LISOF students, as a fundraising challenge, getting the public to raise money themselves. In 2005 LISOF took on the task to get the first year students involved in the LISOF charitable spirit. A line of designer rag dolls was produced, and were auctioned off at their end of year fashion show, to industry professionals. They raised R50 000 total for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, the Teddy Bear Clinics and the Children’s Disability Centre. LISOF never separates itself from its community, as fashion doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather uses our environment as inspiration. Being part of such an exclusive industry doesn’t mean LISOF turns up their noses to our home reality ,but rather the progressive institution, looks at bettering the lives of other less fortunate.

Students at LISOF are not indulged with the fantasy of fashion. The reality is that the industry is tough. Therefore LISOF develops realistic scenarios where students learn how the industry works, whether it’s dealing with a strict brief, a corporate client or creative challenges. Fashion is not merely about cutting a pattern, but more emphasis is being carried on the business of fashion. This approach prepares the students, as well as adding to LISOF’s first-rate reputation. Besides experimentation, LISOF teaches its students interpersonal skills.

If you want to become the best, LISOF will challenge the boundaries of your creative mind. No design is a failure as long as students look beyond the mistakes and aim to resolve their fashion dilemmas through innovative solutions. Shana Rosenthal leads with the philosophy that, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”, and with that type of holistic thinking applied to life and one’s work, LISOF is sure to soar to newer heights but never forgetting it’s humble beginnings.


By Danielle Kushlick
Images by Siviwe James
Model: Clara Kruger


Open Day Speaker | CHRIS MACWADE

posted on October 2nd, 2014 by LISOF

1. Why did you choose Lisof?

Chris Macwade

Chris Macwade

I chose Lisof because fashion theory as a field in South Africa (and even globally) is relatively small. Relatively, fashion receives little attention from academics. This makes the theory of fashion and design particularly exciting – there is room to move and to create fashion scholarship as the discipline grows.

2. The Lisof life lesson?

The most valuable thing I learnt at Lisof is the power of  visual expression

3. Personal highlights in your career?

The most exciting moment of my career to date… is between speaking at a conference at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, or watching Izikhothane throw custard around my classroom during a third year fashion theory presentation on subcultural identity.

4. Future aspirations?

Complete my Phd in the next year, and get a haircut, because I really need a haircut right now, so I guess that’s “future aspirations” too, even if it’s the short-term future.


Open Day Speaker | ANISA MPUNGWE

posted on by LISOF

Anisa Mpungwe
Anisa Mpungwe

1. Personal highlights in your career?

Winning ELLE NEW TALENT in 2008


2. Future aspirations?

I hope my new Anisa for MRP collection is worn by as many people as possible!


If you are interested in what Anisa is doing with Loin Cloth & Ashes you can follow her here or come and listen to her speak at the Lisof Open day on 4 October 2014:


Open Day Speaker | KYLE BOSHOFF

posted on by LISOF

1. The LISOF Life Lesson?

Kyle Boshoff

Kyle Boshoff

All throughout my career in Communications at African Fashion International, as Assistant Editor at VOILA! magazine and in my time as a freelance stylist, I came into regular contact with Lisofians and I realized that Lisof really is the perfect bridge between dreaming the dream and having to actually make a living off this dream you have. More than the theory, more than the practical skills, it is about a community that encourages you to get real-world experience, to chase opportunities and to work hard in pursuit of vision you have for your career in fashion.

3. Personal highlights in your career?

2014 has been an amazing year. I became Fashion Director of AFI PRIVE, a luxury African fashion retail channel and Creative Director for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week AFRICA. The opportunity to work with amazing, talented designers on the continent every day is the most exciting thing I could ask for. Being on-set with L’Officiel magazine and having Chanel Iman come to my surprise 21st is a very close second.

4. Future aspirations?

The future I have ahead of me is one where I use my experience, network and skills to communicate, create, connect, curate and within the African fashion industry, contributing to it taking its rightful place at the head table on the global fashion stage.




If you are interested in what Filipe is doing you can follow him here or come and listen to him speak at the Lisof Open day on 4 October 2014:

Twitter: @kyle_boshoff

Instagram: @kyleboshoff

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