The past years South Africa has seen a marked increase in the number of international textile, clothing and footwear retail outlets – establishing a felt presence. This has caused various designers to create and maintain a distinct value proposition about what they offer.
Ditoro Dream Designs (female owned South African fashion label) has shown that this can be achieved in a highly competitive environment. It is a label that’s all about making fashion dreams come true and to help their clients maintain their marked distinctiveness through their clothing designs.
DITORO DREAM DESIGNS
Ditoro is derived from the Setswana word meaning ‘dreams’ and the label was started by Lerato Pooe, Diana Mokoena (sister), Lesego Pooe (cousin) and their childhood friend (who’s practically family) Naledi Tshivhase.
Why did you get into fashion?
Ditoro as a business came to reality from our interest in fashion. We realized that there was a lot of potential in the industry and with our combined strengths we were convinced we could make it work.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
The aesthetic is African print clothing with a twist; in the sense that it’s a more polished and chic. African print clothing is generally busy and a cluttered – so we choose to rather make a ‘one statement’ piece that will stand out and make it classier….’tailored simplicity’.
Tell us about your collection?
Our current range consists of ‘Circular skirts’ that are suitable for every person of different shape and size. There are ‘Peplum Belts’ that you can wear over leggings, over a skirt or a dress just to give it a pop of colour. We also have accessories – pumps and clutch bags and we’ve recently introduced lifestyle pieces like ottomans.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
We draw most of our inspiration from our surroundings. We love everything African and we don’t think that African print clothing should be a speciality thing. Our mission then is to make clothes that are an everyday thing.
Does each of you have your own individual personal styles?
Lesego: I like simplicity, elegant with a touch of fabulous.
Diana: For me it’s comfort first – classic pieces.
Lerato: I prefer eccentric and love to try different thing but must always be comfortable.
The South African fashion industry is growing rapidly, what sets Ditoro apart from the rest?
The name Ditoro Dream Designs says we’re moving past just fashion to connecting to a person. It’s more than just the trend it’s more about helping people find their personal style.
Do you think your designs are tied to or belong to a certain location or do you think they can be received globally?
It’s definitely international. We are taking away the misconception that African print is only for a certain occasion. We actually have a lot of interest from the Netherlands, Italy and Namibia. That alone for us is proof enough that it is a global brand.
If the three of you were not in the fashion industry what would you be doing?
Lesego: I had a 9-5 job, but I recently resigned. I’m currently doing events which are what I enjoy. If it was up to me I would probably be on TV hosting a show of my own.
Diana: I am actually a doctor by profession and practicing, but my ultimate dream would be a housewife.
Lerato: I’d probably be in the top 10 of the Idols show….LOL, but I’d definitely be doing something in music.
What is next for Ditoro as a brand?
The concept around Ditoro isn’t limited to fashion alone. It’s about making people’s dreams come true and with that said in the near future we would love to used Ditoro as a vehicle for young up and coming talent, whether you’re a photographer, graphic designer or whatever.
We envisage Ditoro to be a vehicle that affords young creative’s experience because most people, no matter how talented they are suffer from lack of experience so Ditoro would like to bridge that gap.
In terms of fashion we would love to open our own official store because at the moment we are only selling at markets, online and on Facebook. In the coming years we also want to move Ditoro to a larger scale and take it international.
Words of wisdom to young people?
Lesego: “Never leave your drink unattended at a club”
Diana: “Michael Jackson was wrong, white socks only work with trainers”
Lerato: “Nobody says ‘amaze balls’ anymore”
You can also catch Ditoro Dream Designs at the Locrate Market in Orlando every first Sunday of the month.
Interview by: Zama Nyaose