Women in fashion

From oversized flares to fabulous pops of colour and gorgeous prints, this season’s fashion trends are as varied and unique as each of these phenomenal businesswomen, all of whom own exceptional stores at Lifestyle Centre Ballito.

These leading lady entrepreneurs share a little about their biggest challenges in business and what it takes to make it in the fashion industry, how they juggle work and home life and their fashion trend tips for 2022/2023.

MUZE is a part of Wendy and Stephanie’s everyday life and they always strive to make sure fun is at the centre of it all (often bringing their family and friends along for the sometimes crazy ride)! They want women to feel beautiful and confident when wearing MUZE clothing, and believe that if they remain authentic and true to who they are, success will follow. In terms of trends, the ladies say that now is not the time to be wary of wearing colour! “The trends are all about bright, bold colour, checks and stripes. And, as we head into the warmer seasons, bold print on print and wide flowy palazzo pants are hot!” The MUZE ladies believe fashion is about finding the balance between on-trend seasonal garments and sustainable fashion; items that their customers will wear for seasons to come.

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Carmen believes in being hands-on and not getting distracted by what everyone else is doing. “You must stay true to your look and your goals and always look after your relationships with suppliers, customers and employees.” She says finding a work-life balance is always a challenge. “It only works because of all the support I get from amazing family, friends and my staff.” Carmen, a lover of lists, also thinks it’s important to plan and have lots of ‘tick off lists’. Her trend forecast is to add a splash of colour to your summer look – tangerine, hot pink and Grecian blue. “If neutrals are more your thing, accessorise with colour. Wear oversized button-up tops, short sets and dresses (both maxi and mini) and add a bit of crochet to show off some skin.”

Despite all of the challenges thrown their way over the last two and a half years, Stacy and Ché say they are very blessed to work in an environment and with people they love and cherish. They are passionate about their brand and what they do – so much so that it often doesn’t feel like work. Stacy and Ché are devoted to timeless fashion and simplistic pieces that stand the test of time. Their inspiration is drawn from classic designs with a touch of contemporary elements of minimalism. Their philosophy for the brand is ‘less is more’ and they embrace footwear and garments that embody ‘slow fashion’: made from high quality materials, built for longevity, surpass passing trends, eco-friendly in material and production, fair working conditions and fair pay.

Franci stands firmly behind the ethical choice of sustainable fashion culture, as opposed to fast-fashion – and that is based on personal principles. Franci believes in staying loyal to what you know is right as a foundation for personal success. She ensures that she sets boundaries around her work and family time. “It’s not always possible to find a balance, so my advice is ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’. Sometimes I only get it eighty percent right, and that’s okay.” Franci feels far more productive when she is at her happiest, rather than feeling stressed or guilty. Franci’s fashion advice? “Don’t follow the trends! Choose what you wear as a means to express who you are.”

When it comes to business, Jenny believes that finding a niche market and offering something unique is what gives you the edge in the competitive fashion arena. Jenny and her husband both work in their business together and she says it isn’t easy to not ‘talk shop’ at home. But Jenny loves what she does, so says she doesn’t mind business spilling over into their private life. They ensure they take trips together as often as possible. When it comes to fashion trends, Jenny believes you should keep it classic. “Quality never goes out of style. Also, invest in good quality fabrics such as pure silk and linen.”

Mandy and Tanya’s work in the fashion industry has always felt unique, in the fact that they are a thrift store. “We aim to educate our customers on the facts around fast-fashion and its effects on the environment.” Approaching five years of being based at Lifestyle Centre Ballito, Mandy and Tanya (both of whom have three children), believe they have got themselves into a good rhythm that works for them. They spend most mornings at the store and then with the children in the afternoons. “Our systems run smoothly with a strong team of assistants who are reliable.” Mandy and Tanya encourage the ‘maximalist look’, where you dress to make a statement! “Looks are to be colourful, bold, creative and embellished.”

Morgan spends a lot of time forecasting prints and styles so that their store offering is always on trend … and a little crazy! Morgan, a working mom, says the most challenging thing for her is finding the right work/home life balance. “I love my work, but I also have mom-guilt, for not always being with my kids! With the feeling that the fashion retail industry is quite saturated at the moment, it takes a lot of time and energy to stay one step ahead and offer unique products to our customers.” As for 2022/23 trends, Morgan is a firm believer that ‘anything goes!’. And, she says, fashion is about rediscovering creativity and optimism – from sequins and beading, to mixing colours and prints, it all works. Anything that sparks joy is in!

Working in the competitive fashion industry, Rush owner Sally spends a lot of time researching new styles for each season. “This enables us to constantly change up, remain unique and be competitive,” she says. Although she finds balancing work and business tough, travelling and gaining new experiences helps her find balance. “When you own a business, it will forever be a part of your life, so finding a way for them to live harmoniously alongside one another is key.” In terms of trend forecasts for the season, Sally says ‘trendy comfort’ is still a large focus. “Items like bomber jackets are great to have – they are classic but can keep each outfit fresh and fashionable.”

“I think you officially know you are an entrepreneur when you sincerely start to understand the meaning of cash flow management,” says ONE owner Nicci. “I know I will get an Amen from fellow entrepreneurs!” In terms of work-life balance, Nicci believes that building this brand has allowed her the freedom to integrate family, friendship and business. “Understanding and support from everyone gets you through the rocky start up beginnings and helps you keep the faith!” And her fashion trend tips? “Explore bold new colour combinations, never say no to a print, embrace silhouettes you never imagined yourself in … it’s liberating and surprising at the same time!”

IG: @lifestylecentreballito | FB: @ballitolifestylecentre

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