Beyoncé’s Mosotho designer eyes New York


Nthatuoa Koeshe

LESOTHO born George Malelu, who contributed to the designing of American star Beyoncé’s costume at the recently held 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg says he is now eying a career in New York City.

Malelu told the Lesotho Times that he was thrilled that the star approved the dress describing it as a “priceless” moment.

He said he has always wanted to be a New York based designer and a global brand and having visited the United States recently just reinforced his love for the big apple.

“I see myself in New York in the future and I feel it coming very soon,” Malelu said adding: “I’ve been on it for years and its finally approaching”.

Beyoncé wore a design by local haute couture duo Quiteria & George, which they produced in partnership with Manualrossa, during the last part of her performance at the Global Citizen Festival.

The Global Citizen Festival is an annual music festival which started in 2012 and organised by Global Poverty Project to help fulfill Mandela’s vision of ending extreme poverty.

Malelu said in 2017 Quiteria & George met Beyoncé’s stylist Lejenke Ahmed Tally at the Mercedes Benz Cape Town fashion week where they were showcasing for the first time and he loved their collection.

“Tally ended up producing our show. Fast forward to about a month ago, I got a call from Tally telling me that he got us an opportunity to work with Beyoncé,” Malelu said.

Malelu said the design and the concept is originally by Quiteria & George however, they worked with Mbali Maphumolo as a collaboration “since we needed funds to produce a world class costume”.

“We worked with Studio 05 Fashion Institute in creating the patterns and I reached out because I’m their former student and we also worked with Anita Fereira (hat designer) who helped us immensely with securing fabric sponsorship from Jerry’s Fabrics,” he said.

Malelu told the Weekender that the experience of designing Beyoncé’s costume completely changed his mindset. He however, said he has always thought to himself that he was exceptional but the fact that Beyoncé gave him approval that he was “world class was priceless”.

Malelu said prior to dressing Beyoncé, they have dressed actress Terri Vaughn and Katie Logan of The Bold and the Beautiful.

“We have also dressed Bonang Matheba, Pearl Thusi, Terry Pheto, Boity, Minnie Dlamini, Thando Thabethe, Nomuzi Mabena, Dineo Moeketsi, Pearl Modiadie, designed costumes for Miss South Africa contestants (among them Ntando Linens, Demi Leigh Nel Peters, Liesel Laurie, Zina Zokufa and Cindy Nel) and they have also dressed Toke Makinwa and Stephanie Cooker from Nigeria.”

He said he sees himself he has always wanted to be a New York based designer but a global brand and having visited there recently just reinforced his love for the big apple.

“I see myself in New York in the future and I feel it coming very soon. I’ve been on it for years and its finally approaching,” he said.

Malelu told the Weekender that he grew up watching his mom making clothes and also watched the soapie The Bold and the beautiful with his father where he learnt to appreciate the art of designing.

He said after dropping out of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) in 2007 where he was studying Political Science and Administration, he went to Johannesburg to study fashion at the Studio 05 Fashion Institute but he only lasted two years.

“I came here (South Africa) in 2008 and lasted two years in college and dropped out again.”

Malelu said to make it big in the fashion industry one needs to have talent and vision.

He said despite his new-found fame, he remains a proud Mosotho. He also said although he feels he has made important strides in the industry, his parents are still unconvinced that the career is lucrative enough for a decent livelihood.

Malelu said the government must also take the opportunity of his achievement and invest in the fashion industry.

“My parents support and love me dearly but they still don’t think that fashion can bring milk on my table and that’s the same mindset that our government has. They are not convinced yet that it’s something they could invest in. However, I guess my story will reach the necessary people because surely, we are not all fortunate enough to afford migrating to South Africa,” Malelu said.

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