It’s often said that certain people have an inherent gift and this is certainly true of Otsile Sefolo. Because of his passion and hard work Otsile, 27 years old, has become one of the most recognised upcoming designers in South Africa. His exceptional talent has led him to be nominated for the Sylbna lifestyle awards as the best fashion designer.
This young entrepreneur is a founder and creative director of a fashion label called Otiz Seflo, a dynamic brand that caters for a diverse clientele, with its modern, current and versatile creations. Since his start in the fashion industry Otsile has worked with some of Mzanzi’s most famous celebrities such as Pabi Moloi, Lira, Amstel, Tumi from Tumi and the Volume, and Eda Rose to name a few.
We met up with him at his studio in Braamfontein to talk about his journey in the fashion industry, his award nomination, and future plans. I must say, what came across most during our interview were Otsile’s answers to my questions and the depth of understanding this young man has about entrepreneurship. I was swept away that someone who hasn’t even reached the age of 30 could be so voluble about what it means to be a businessman and, at the same time practically implement what he’s talking about.
Born and raised in a small village in Northwest, Otsile recalls how from a young age he always wanted to be an accountant. After matriculating, he studied internal auditing in varsity, but soon realised that a conventional career path was not for him. “The minute I walked into a workplace, I realised that the nine to five job wasn’t my thing. The whole corporate world wasn’t for me,” he said.
After working for a year, Otsile opted to quit his job and follow his passion of becoming a fashion designer. Otsile’s parents were against his decision to pursue a career in fashion. “It came to a point were me and my mom were not on speaking terms for a long time,” he said. But his parents slowly warmed to the idea and gave him the support he needed.
Growing up in an academic family has always motivated Otsile to work hard and show his siblings and parents that you can also become rich in the fashion industry. However not every designer manages to turn their passion into a functioning, profitable business. But with his accounting skills Otsile makes sure that he is not only following his love of design, but also generating profit on the business side.
While studying for his undergraduate degree, Otsile had the opportunity to become the head producer of the Mpumalanga Fashion Week, producing and coordinating all the shows. Nonetheless, his recent nomination for the Sylbna lifestyle award came as a shock to him. ” I really didn’t expect to be nominated. I was shocked,” he laughed. Otsile stated that he doesn’t care about being famous; all he wants is to achieve success. “I would rather let my work speak for itself than me creating hype around myself,” said Otsile.
According to Otsile, it’s not easy being a designer trying to break into the industry with limited financial resources. “You spend a lot of time trying to get resources as opposed to perfecting your craft,” he said. Due to the creativity and the glamour of the job, there is a lot of competition to become a recognised fashion designer. However, there is something truly special about Otsile that stands out from the rest. He believes that the quality of his products and the relationships he has with his clients will keep him relevant. “I don’t just sell product, but service also,” he said.
Otsile has ambitious plans for the future and aspires to build an all-encompassing lifestyle brand, showcasing his work internationally with the hope of retiring at the age of 36. To all aspiring designers, Otsile believes hard work is how to get ahead. “Everyone who wants to be a fashion designer must really have the heart for it and be fashion driven.”
To vote for Otsile for the Sylbna Best fashion designer, SMS OTIZ SEFLO to 33412
For more celebrity features follow me @simplybobontle
photo’s by :@itsKID_Darkness