She has worked with the likes of superstars Ciara and Kelly Rowland, and is responsible for some of the iconic looks we have seen on the red carpet.
Yet, she is not Vera Wang or Diane von Furstenberg or any of the A-list designers in Hollywood.
She is our very own Luyanda Sithole, a South African native who took the Hollywood fashion industry by storm, and is back in the country to show us what she is made of.
We caught up with the effervescent young lady to find out how she got to work with celebrities most people can only dream of being in the same room with, and for her to tell us more about her clothing label, Revolt.
Surprisingly, Sithole says fashion was not her first love. “I come from a very musical family. My parents are the founders of Native Rhythms Productions. Since I was six till about 19 I was a professional dancer. I attended the National School of the Arts majoring in dance,” said Sithole.
“After high school I wanted to move to Los Angeles to pursue my dance career, but instead I enrolled at the Art Institute of California (Hollywood campus).
” I moved to LA when I was 20. I graduated with a degree in fashion marketing. I didn’t delve into fashion straight away. I actually interned for Tricky Stewart (Red Zone Entertainment) as an assistant studio manager and worked with a lot of A-list artists and up and coming musicians.”
From then on, Sithole immersed herself in the world of visual merchandising, and that is where she had an epiphany.
“I worked at Guess Inc doing visual merchandising, but during that time there was a big boom in online fashion start-ups in the USA, specifically Los Angeles. I found that I had a passion for social media and branding and thought working in a start-up fashion brand would be cool. So I started out as an intern and over the years became a sought-after fashion marketing ‘guru’.”
Sithole is quite modest about her experience working with Hollywood A-listers.
“I worked with Ciara, LA Reid, Semi Precious Weapons, Frank Ocean and yes, Kelly Rowland.
“It was a great learning experience. Very professional. We had to get things done and make sure they were done correctly so there wasn’t much time to stop and smell the roses and be like ‘oh snap that’s Kelly Rowland’.”
It was while woking with these A-listers that Sithole became interested in building a fashion brand of her own, and she decided to bring her talent to SA.
“I always knew I would get the education and experience I needed in USA and bring back my knowledge to SA. I Just didn’t know it would take six years. But yes, I always wanted to do my business in SA to contribute to the economy of the country that shaped me.
“About a year and a half ago I was working at a fashion market place, overseeing about 100 start-up fashion brands. So I learned a lot of the ins and outs of building a brand. I thought I could really do this myself. Why make money for others when you can make it for yourself?”
It was this realisation that saw the birth of Revolt clothing. Sithole says she is not intimidated by the tough SA fashion industry, as she has something quite different to offer.
“I am in the fast online fashion boutique space, which is not overly saturated in SA at the moment. I curate the clothes from around the world. So couture designers do not affect my market.”
Sithole describes the Revolt girl as fashion forward and bold in her fashion choices.
Surprisingly, her pieces are quite reasonably priced, ranging from R260 to R900, all available online at www.revoltclothing.net.
So what does Revolt have for us this summer?
“I am actually taking a trip to China next week which I am super excited about.
“I will be looking for more denim pieces, matching sets which the Revolt girl loves and jumpsuits in interesting prints.”