Matric pupil has designs to go big

TRENDY: Clout House brand label owner, Alizwa Sibawu is the future of fashion Picture: SUPPLIED

The passing-on of fashion design skills from a mother to a son could just be the beginning of a future fashion house empire.

Alizwa Sibawu, who is currently in matric at Queen’s College, began his business of designing clothing in grade 7.

Sibawu said his knack for fashion and clothing design caught on after being exposed to his mother, Lindelwa’s work, when she operated her sewing machine at home.

”My mother studied fashion design so growing up I used to watch her cutting out patterns and sewing clothes. She stopped, but the sewing machine was always there. That is when I began designing items for myself,” he said.

It was when people caught a glimpse of his talent and creativity that brought about the start of his clothing brand, Clout.

However the name has since developed to Clout House over the years.”People loved the clothes I was making, started asking me to design clothes for them and that is how I

I came up with the name Clout House, to make it a fashion empire. I chose the name Clout House because I wanted to influence the way people dressed through fashion. The definition of Clout is the influence of power, it is to gain respect,” Sibawu added.

Although he began his small business of designing in grade 7, Sibawu only registered it last year.

His clothing range caters for both women and men.

Sibawu said: ”I cater for semi-formal and casual which is called drip in the new era. Drip is a twist of formal wear mixed with casual. Usually people wear a formal jacket with ‘sharp nose’ shoes, a formal shirt with a tie, but the twist is to put on a branded T-shirt, instead of a formal shirt with a tie.”

He plans to study fashion design to continue with his passion and to develop his brand. He draws his inspiration from the likes of MaXhosa Africa, a South African knitwear brand founded by Laduma Ngxokolo.

”I can relate to his story, which is similar to mine. His late mother, who used to own a knitting machine, left him the skill which is how he began his brand. His knitting patterns became popular.

His work is loved in SA and internationally. I wish to be at his level.”What defines fashion, according to him, is the way people express themselves, wear and present clothes and carry themselves. ”People have different styles. They are interested in various clothing.

The latest trend is to wear a coat, jeans and sneakers and a T-shirt – a balance between smart and casual,” said Sibawu.