Bonolo Mataboge, founder of Afriblossom, a fashion label for plus-sized women, talks us through some of her favourite looks from her range for the winter season. Bonolo (21) had to drop out of fashion school after developing a growth disorder that caused her lower leg to grow at an inward angle. She did not let that deter her from finding a gap in the market and going after her dreams.
“I am obsessed with geometry and I love to play with shapes as much as possible. This dress was inspired by the silhouette of a city skyline at night. I tried to represent the jutting of different buildings into the sky in an abstract way that was still wearable for the everyday woman. I love this dress because I used stretch leather – an unconventional fabric for an evening dress. I believe that clothing should be as fuss free as possible so the dress doesn’t have a zip, you just slip it on and it moulds to the curves of your body comfortably. This dress is definitely for the more daring and it works for every body type because the bottom flares out creating shape for those of us that are less hippy and balances out those who are abundantly blessed in that department. The mesh cut outs also show off some of our best assets.”
“Winter is my least favourite season because it’s freezing cold, so I wanted to create comfy but stylish clothing for the season. I love anything that is one size fits all because I can layer up as much as I want to, so I created this chic poncho in a cool knotted knit with some sequins to give it that day-to-night appeal. You can never go wrong with a classic pencil skirt and I decided to put my twist on it by making it snake print. It’s also super high-waisted with corset strings at the back. I did this because a lot of curvy women have drastically different proportions and their waist is much smaller than their hips, so finding pants or skirts that fit perfectly is virtually impossible, so the corset detail at the back makes the waist of the skirt adjustable.”
“This is another fuss-free but chic winter look. Since our winter season is so short I wanted to make pieces that can easily transition into spring and summer. I feel everyone needs a fabulous trench coat so I designed ours to be floor length with extra deep pockets. It also sports a touch of lace to add femininity and short sleeves so you can wear it through all seasons. The two-tone dress is my nod to the 60’s. The dress is a simple column shape with pockets hidden between the two tones of brown. I feel this look is the most diverse because the loose cut of the garments is very flattering and works on all body types. I also like that it gives the illusion of length to the body as most of us curvy girls are short and clothes that make us look shorter also make us look bigger. It’s a great slimming look without having to hit the gym.”
“Smart casual clothing is my favourite and I love to design these pieces. The cropped jacket was inspired by the faux trench and I am totally obsessed with burgundy this year. I just wanted to let the colour shine by keeping the design simple and chic. The pants are my take on traditional mens tuxedo pants. I decided to give them my twist by making them in a print and changing the traditional side satin panel into mesh to give a cheeky flash of flesh. I love clothes with an unexpected surprise so these pants are definitely all business in the front and party on the side. I like to play on the edges of sexy and modesty. The jacket is a crowd pleaser which suits every body type while the pants are more daring and for the fashion-forward curvy girl.”
All of Bonolo’s clothes are available on the Afriblossom website, and will also be sold at retail store The Space in Rosebank in September.
Photography by James Mould
Styling by Alexis Tshangana
This story first appeared on Red Bull Amaphiko