By Nonceba Soul –
Drawing inspiration from the humble and challenging circumstances that he grew up in, a Botshabelo-born young man is threatening to take the fashion industry by storm.
At just 22 years old, Thabang Sekokotoane, founder of Grace Fashion based at 158 Small Industrial Park, has become a household name in the sleepy town of Botshabelo. Hailing from the dusty streets of Botshabelo F Section, Sekokotoane’s work has sent tongues wagging and heads turning.
“I want to grow in this business to a point where I can employ many people to assist me. I know with a lot of hard work and dedication, I can achieve this,” Sekokotoane explained.
Being raised in a family of six children by a self-employed single parent could not have been easier for the young fashion designer. Growing up seeing his mother struggling to make ends meet with her tailoring job became the inspiration that Sekokotoane needed to ignite the passion that was burning inside him.
After finishing his matric in 2013 at Leratong Secondary School, Sekokotoane enrolled at the Central University of Technology (CUT) to study B.ed Computer Science but he dropped out in his second year. He then found himself at Motheo in Thaba Nchu where he enrolled for a Fashion Designing course.
Feeling that the course was not doing justice to his ambition, Sekokotoane dropped out, much to his mother’s disappointment. His belief was that there must be something more than just a certificate to authenticate his passion for fashion designing.
Without his mother’s assistance, he designed his first garment, a blazer, something that made him and the family proud.
The first person whom she designed a dress for was his high school teacher back in 2016. For him that was his first achievement. Finally, his dreams were becoming a reality.
“The support I got from my family and people from my community is totally amazing. It inspires me to continue believing in myself as a fashion designer. My siblings gave me the support I thought they could never give me. They even support him financially by buying material and equipment when I don’t have everything. They even help with looking for customers,” Sekokotoane said.
In January of 2015, Sekokotoane started his own company with one person to help him, Lindiwe Meile, as well as his mother.
“I want to be a successful entrepreneur so that I can contribute to reducing unemployment in my community,” he said.
For motivation, Sekokotoane looks up to Teboho Sediane who runs Mr. S Clothing in Thaba Nchu. He has been mentoring him since last year.
“I am very grateful to my mentor because he had showed me how to make the best clothes. Even when I was at a point of self-doubt and wanting to give up, he was there all the time pushing me, telling me I can do it even better than the people who have been in the industry for a long time,” he said.
The fashion designer’s ambition is to see himself as one of the best in the industry. He has fashion design guru, David Tlale, and entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Vusi Thembekwayo, as his role models.