Sporting cropped dark locks and wearing tight-fitted floral pants, a leather jacket, and nude pointed heeled shoes, Tamlyn Ferreira looked like she had just stepped out of the latest fashion catalogue. Not long after meeting her, I learnt that her fashion advice was as on point as her shoes. She is the creative brain behind the ladieswear line for Ruald Rheeder (a label at the Young Designers’ Emporium). Just before we sit down for a Q and A session, she heads to the till inside the Canal Walk branch. As she hands over cash for a purchase, I tease her about a possible shopping addiction.
“It’s for one of my personal styling clients, it’s better to shop for them on my own so their fear of trying something new won’t affect my vision for them’’ she explains. It’s always better to spend other peoples money right?
With the shopping complete we begin our Q and A:
LIVE: What other services do you offer?
Tamlyn: I focus on two opposite ends of the fashion spectrum, from one-on-one styling to designing for the masses through retail. My services as a stylist include Runway Styling, Photographic Styling, Personal Styling and Makeovers, Personal Shopping, Public Speaking and Workshops.
LIVE: Why go into fashion as a career?
Tamlyn: I have lived and breathed fashion my entire life and I always knew that it was where I was destined to be. It was a long journey which took me through all elements of the industry. I truly believe that waking up every day and loving what you do is the only way to live your life. Passion breeds enthusiasm, enthusiasm brings about hard work and hard work ultimately creates success and happiness!
LIVE: Do you have any fashion icons? Who are they and why?
Tamlyn: I love Victoria Beckham and how her fashion sense and style has evolved over the years. We have seen her try all the current trends and attention-seeking ensembles. Now she quietly exudes elegance and simplicity whenever she steps out. Vicky always looks incredible.
LIVE: Victoria Beckham is my absolute favourite too. She is always well dressed, beautifully styled and confident. How can the average person be just as confident in their clothes?
Tamlyn: If you put something on, be it an item of clothing or an accessory and something feels awkward, take it off immediately! There is nothing worse to look at than someone who is not “owning” their outfit and is fiddling or pulling or looking uncomfortable. Confidence here is the key to looking amazing everyday!
LIVE: You offer makeovers, personal shopping and styling for you clients. If someone wanted to change their look how would they do it? What would they need to ask themselves? Or think about?
Tamlyn: They would need to be prepared to shift their mindset about how they see themselves. We need to accept our bodies the way they are today and make the most of them now. Why dress badly today in the hope that you will eventually lose those 5 kilos? They would also need to be open to trying new styles, colours and patterns. Also, they would need to pick the person (stylist, friend or family member) that they ask to help them or get advice from very wisely. This process of change does present a big set of challenges but the end result is life changing and they will never look back!
LIVE: What motivates and inspires you when designing your clothes?
Tamlyn: People, especially women inspire me. I think that every woman deserves to love the body that they are in and feel beautiful and confident everyday of their lives. My designs are motivated by this line of thinking and that is why we make beautiful, comfortable, and affordable designs for the everyday woman.
LIVE: As Live SA we focus a lot on the youth and young professionals. Can you give us a sneak peek into your daily life for those who want to pursue a career in fashion?
Tamlyn: A typical day in my life starts with a visit to the factory to check up on production. Then it is straight to the office for a cup of coffee, before Ruald and I sit down to deal with our daily admin which includes everything from designing new garments to selecting fabrics and trims to checking stock and packing boxes. After I leave the office, I always try to pop into a local store to check on stock levels and re-merchandise the rails, if necessary. Most afternoons, I am busy with personal makeover clients, shopping for styling clients, working on a shoot, giving a talk or presenting a corporate workshop. My evenings are then either spent on the couch, reading the latest fashion magazines or out in town at a fashion show or launch.
LIVE: You and Ruald will soon be preparing for Cape Town Fashion week, talk us through what goes on behind the scenes and in the run up to fashion week?
Tamlyn: For any designer, a fashion week slot is an incredible privilege. The preparations begin the moment our show is confirmed and we take our cue and inspiration from everything around us. We then put pen to paper and create our proposed designs. We then source our fabrics and put the designs to life by making patterns and sampling. Once we have approved the samples, we make up the garments and start building on the collection by adding accessories. The last week leading up to the show is always the most stressful as you start doubting yourself and changing your mind and then our stress levels go through the roof. However, once we have done our model fittings and sealed the garments, there is no going back. On the day of the show, after our final dress rehearsal, we try to relax and have a bit of down time. Backstage is both exhilarating and daunting as people shout out cues, frantically dress models and make last second requests and changes. It is a phenomenal feeling that you just cannot describe to anyone that hasn’t been through the experience!
LIVE: Working in the industry and being involved in fashion shows, what do you think of the fashion industry in Cape Town?
Tamlyn: The South African fashion industry is growing from strength to strength and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of such a dynamic platform.
LIVE: Do you have any favourites when it comes to South African designers?
Tamlyn: It would be unfair to name anyone specific because there are so many talented SA designers that I admire. We are such a beautiful and diverse country and that is clearly evident on our local runways.
LIVE: Speaking of fashion designers Coco Chanel, a very famous one said that a woman must be two things: Classy and fabulous. Do you agree? How can the everyday woman achieve this?
Tamlyn: I totally agree. Taking advice from one of the most stylish and talented women to ever shape the fashion industry is very wise. Women can achieve this by being confident, being true to themselves and dressing for their bodies, lifestyles and personalities on a daily basis.
With cold and wet weather upon us, we want to keep warm but on the other hand we also want to look good, don’t we? Tamlyn says lace, animal print and leather are still ‘in’. See more winter trends and must haves here: