Palesa Mokubung is the first African designer to collaborate with retail giant H&M. In October 2018 she showcased in the BRICS show with designers from Brazil, Russia, India, and China. “Mantsho” is a clothing label that was established by Palesa Mokubung in 2004. Palesa holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fashion Design, she’s an entrepreneur, an award winner and a fashion visionary “who has a rare quality to design from the heart” said Lucilla Booyzen the founder of SA Fashion Week.
Palesa zooms in on African materials and cleverly transforms them into modern and edgy designs incorporating fine silks and woven fabrics to end up with a 100% Mantsho garment. A true Mantsho garment can be identified buy it’s confident and effortless silhouette, structure and quirkiness. These three elements work well to describe Mokubung’s knowledge of her craft. Shape is a big character of her design ethos she believes it stores a woman’s confidence.
The Johannesburg based designer hails from Kroonstad in the Orange Free State. She was raised by a single mom along with her equally talented brother who is responsible for creating the Mantsho Logo. Palesas career started when she walked into a boutique in Rosebank Johannesburg and the owner asked her where she got her outfit from and Palesa said ‘’I made it”. The boutique was called Stoned Cherrie, Yes, the revolutionary fashion brand that came out of SA in year 2000. Mokubung started working at Stoned Cherrie immediately, primarily as a designer. She worked long enough to gather experience and knowledge to start her brain child Mantsho.
Under the management and creative leadership of Palesa, Mantsho has gone on to travel to countries such as Greece, India, New York, Jamaica, Nigeria, Botswana, Senegal showcasing its designs. Mantsho has since attracted a big following amongst woman who want to stand out from the crowd and consider themselves as style leaders amongst their circle, women who a driven, classy and charismatic.
Mantsho’s accolades range from creating woven fabrics with giant fabric weavers called Tie Weavers, being nominated for a number of awards to being named the ‘The African Trend Dictator’ by one of SA’s top publications. However, Mokubung’s biggest accomplishment came when she completed her BA Degree in Fashion Design 2014 and finally winning a Fashion and Innovation Award at the Mbokodo Women in the Arts Awards also in 2014, awards founded by Carol Bouwer. This experience has given her a higher appreciation for her craft and advanced her technical and theoretical knowledge of her ever-changing industry.
In person, Palesa can be described as confident and a straight talker with high standards. Never compromises who she is and stands by her work. Many have described her as having the ultimate cool factor but she denies it. She prefers to think of herself as a creative hard working and an entrepreneur, who has gone on to pursue a new venture, opening her very own Mantsho Lifestyle Store at 27 Boxes in Melville, where clients can now come and receive the full Mantsho experience.