Andile Bhenya, known as Andy, fell in love with David Tlale's work which echoed his understanding and take on fashion design. "I loved David's techniques! he's a very creative individual, has a unique design style - avant garde even - and he is not afraid of crossing barriers and perceptions which is everything I love about Designing," were Andy's words as he settled into his seat at their Parktown North studio, "I knew I wanted to work for the label."
This was in 2005, only two years after David made his big debut as the winner of the Elle design challenge. David, at that time, was running a very small company with only 4 employees and they catered for a handful of private clients. David interviewed Andile and granted him a 6 months internship programme where his primary job was to cut out the patterns. Virgin Mobile Cape Town Fashion Week 2008 - David Tlale, Jordan Dunn and Andile Bhenya (background)
As their working relationship developed over those months, Andile showed a lot of creativity in his input on design and execution of garments which lead to his internship being extended and David trusting his opinion on every garment produced by the David Tlale brand.
Andile, under David's guidance, learnt about paying greater attention to detail, quality assurance skills, presentation skills and how to "finish" a design - which Andile had all learnt at school, but David had his own unique way of executing garments therefore Andile had to learn the "DT"way.
Audi Joburg Fashion Week 2008 - David Tlale, Millen Magese, Andile Bhenya (Background)
After a year of being tested, Andile was offered the prestigious position of (Creative) Assistant Designer - a first for the David Tlale brand - and the two worked together to build the brand (which included club-show brand activation initiatives) to what we see today.
I obviously questioned why he would want to leave a "fabulous" vocation at a well established brand. Andile, with a rather sullen look, says "it's time! I gave DT my best and after 5 years, I think it's time to grow beyond this. My intentions when I graduated was not work under someone's shadow forever, although DT was the best learning ground I could've ever asked for. I had beautiful years here and I still love the brand and will forever be proud of how far the brand has come."
The 30th of July marks the final day of Andile's position as David Tlale's Assistant Designer. He is taking up the job of Head (costume) designer for Sizani studios (which supplies clothes for several TV shows including Rhythm City).
"I loved working with David, we've taught each other a considerable amount of design aspects. He is a very creative individual and I will always consider him a great mentor and it's been a fabulous 5 years."
- We wish you the very best in your vocation and now I have more reason to tune into the free-to-air channel to catch a glimpse of (haute - hoping!) style injection in soapies - Thank GAWD!