The MFA Experience – We chat to the face behind Kente by Keneilwe

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Going down on 15 December will be the Pheli M.F.A, An experience showcasing the best of what is on offer in the community in Pretoria West. Among the many attractions to the event there will be top music, designers and art being showcased all brought together in front of your eyes. One of the many talents that will be showcased on the day is local designer Keneilwe Mampuru, who is the owner of “Kente by Keneilwe”. We took some time to chat with Keneilwe to find out a little bit more, this is how it went down

MA: Please give us a little bit of background about who you are?

Keneilwe Mampuru is a young woman born in Atteridgeville. I’m an introvert but always made my mark with my clothing. I love dressing up for any event, even when Im at home, I love adding some colour to my clothes, that just lifts my mood. I’ve always been arty, when I was younger, I drew on my bedroom walls with wax crayons, and made clothes for my dolls with random fabrics I found in the house, so it wasn’t a suprise when I told my parents I wanted to take art as one of my subjects in high school. After high school, I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I ended up studying Fashion Design. With life & its ups & downs, I had to get a stable job as I wanted 2 study further & also be able to afford my own lifestyle. So I got an opportunity at a well known bank. I worked there for a few years, but I knew that wasn’t my true calling. In 2008 I eventually decided to quit & start my own business. The business was actually derived from my love of fashion & sewing. I saw a gap in quality tailor-made clothing for women. I myself had problems getting the right fit from retail stores. I usually had to do some alterations after buying. The journey of self-employment hasn’t been what I had in mind at all, you constantly have to grab opportunities, educate yourself, know when to take advice from others, being firm with family & friends on discounts, self discipline and time management.

MA: What is the main focus of your brand “Kente by Keneilwe”?

We want to perfect the art of ‘Bespoke Clothing’. We specialise in the bespoke design & tailoring of distinct outfits, our main focus is to make clothing for women with different sizes & shapes

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MA: What do you love most about what you are doing at the moment?

Besides loving the fact that I am following my passion, I love that I change the way women see their bodies. It is amazing to see how just one piece of garment can make someone love and appreciate their body shape, with it’s imperfections.

MA: What can we expect to see from you at the MFA Experience?

Expect to see lots of interaction, me being there representing my brand is far more special than reading about it on the internet. This will also give other people who’ve never heard of us a chance to get to know the brand a bit more, what we are all about and to take advantage of us being there,this means we can take their measurements and do consultations on the spot. They they can pre-order a tailor-made garment or two from us. They can also see our display of designs. We’ll also be selling accessories such as clutch purses & earrings.

MA: What do you feel is the greatest advantage of being part of a movement such as the MFA Experience?

The greatest advantage is brand exposure, as well as Uplifiting the young people from the township, giving them hope that unemployment doesn’t mean it is the end of the world, it’s actually a great opportunity to be entrepreneurial & plant a seed for others. They can take their passion and turn it into profit. That’s what Kente by Keneilwe is all about “it begins with a dream”

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If you would like to see for yourself what Kente by Keneilwe is all about, don’t miss the MFA Experience! Don’t forget, Tuesday is a Public Holiday!

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