Meet designer Bonolo: The woman on a mission to make plus-size sexy

Meet designer Bonolo: The woman on a mission to make plus-size sexy

- A love for fashion and a strong will to succeed have seen designer Bonolo Mataboge going after her dreams

- The vibrant young woman, who was forced to leave a prestigious design school due to an illness, is now a household name and an inspiration to many

- Bonolo says: "If I fall seven times, I will stand up eight", proving she's a force to be reckoned with

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By Brandon Nel - Freelance Journalist

"Fall seven times and stand up eight": This is an old Japanese proverb that rings true for Bonolo Mataboge, a renowned fashion designer.

Creativity clearly runs in her veins and the designing bug bit her when she was a mere 12 years old. Not even an illness that was the reason she had to leave the London International School of Fashion made her forget about her dreams. In fact, this made her more determined to succeed.

In the words of Vidal Sassoon:

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary,” Mataboge said.

Some people only dream of success while others get up and do it. She certainly takes after her mother, Siphiwe:

"She had a finger in many small pies while raising my two daughters. She taught my kids that having all your eggs in one basket may not be a good idea, and that variety is what attracted clients,” she said.

Siphiwe has taught her daughters to never give up, and if they felt like giving up, she would be there to inspire them to take one more step, according to Mataboge.

Her budding business saw its first light in 2014 when this brilliant designer was only 19 years old.

Born and raised in a town outside of Malelane in Mpumalanga, Bonolo’s universal design ‘seeds’ grew deep roots and sprouted strong stems that drew the attention of many once they were planted in the minds of fashion-conscious people.

“I was inspired by the fact that there were limited designs available for plus-sized women."

After a small capital injection from her entrepreneur mother, her business, which is co-owned by Siphiwe Sithole, gave its first cry. This baby was alive, healthy and ready to learn how to walk.

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Mother and daughter work together now like a “well-oiled machine”.

Women, especially shapely and voluptuous African women, loved the fact that they were now able to buy designer clothing that shouted: "I am curvy and very proud of it!"

Siphiwe, her mother, was the driving force behind marketing the clothing that focuses on the beauty of curves, and she is the calming voice when things progress too slow for her impatient, speedy designer daughter.

This range offers a blend of African and Western outfits, and anyone wearing a size 34 to 50 can wear Mataboge’s creations with pride.

And who better to model the beautiful creations than curvy Mataboge herself?

“I’m comfortable in my own skin, love my curves,” she added.

Mataboge is every inch the interpretation of a happy young woman. She wants every woman to love the curves they have.

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