Local designer creates stunning garments

THREADS IMPRESS: Local designer Gugu Fortein has launched the Autumn/Winter collection for her clothing brand, Isabel Cosa. Picture: SUPPLIED

Local brand Isabel Cosa launched their first ready-to-wear collection, titled ‘First’, on July 1 at the Anne Bryant Gallery.

The collection marks the debut of designer Gugu Fortein, and features pieces that celebrate the timeless elegance and functionality of clean cuts and precise lines.

In the seven years since the brand’s founding, it has grown to include menswear, and both men’s and women’s wear feature in the collection.

Fortein began making clothing from the age of 10 and the joy of bringing a concept to life prompted her towards pursuing fashion design.

Fortein said: “I realised the positive impact clothes can have. I want my clothes to give everyone the chance to be heard in whatever room they enter. I was also inspired by seeing how young women were dressing.

“Women are powerful and fierce; they have world-changing ideas. I want these to be heard.

“I make clothes for the 21st-century woman and now men too.

“They have jobs and families, they run errands on weekends, but they also enjoy life in full.

“So, the clothes I design are pieces that work hard for you, taking you from the office to your friend’s brunch to school dropoff to your cousin’s wedding. They are made for you to live in.”

The passionate designer works with one assistant but hopes to employ more in the future.

Fortein said the collection was titled ‘First’ in honour both of her debut in runway fashion and also to celebrate the innovative spirit of South Africans who are pioneers in all aspects of their lives.

Fortein said: “This collection celebrates all the strong women and men who pioneered the inventions we get to use in the 21st century.

“It also celebrates anyone who has been the first in their family to finish school, go to college and get a degree, or be formally employed.

“This collection celebrates you; keep shattering the ceiling.

“You can expect wearable, functional and well-made pieces.

“My aesthetic is classic cuts, clean lines and design that will be still worn 10 years from now.”

Despite struggling with funding and high levels of stress, Fortein continues to persevere.

Davianne Blignaut, the owner of Just Models, said she was very impressed with the designs.

“I think it was spectacular. There were pieces could take you from work to a cocktail evening. I see her going far with this range.

“The little gift boxes were also unique. It is lovely to see a young woman so focused on women empowerment and God.

“I also love that she caters for all sizes, all shapes and all textures.

“I just want to encourage her to keep going and to keep up the fantastic work,” Blignaut said.


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