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Bohemian Bliss

The Polokwane-born Cindy spent a few years in Pretoria where she studied public relations. Her first taste of the Lowveld was a stint as the public relations officer in the director’s office at the Kruger National Park.

“That was the best year of my life! I have lived in the Lowveld from that moment on, on and off for the best part of 20 years. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster, but a hell of a ride!” she smiles. Cindy and hubby Morné Dorfling rekindled a friendship, which turned into romance, and the couple has been happily raising their six-year old son Jamie in their hometown of Hazyview ever since. Cindy’s gorgeous range of bohemian-inspired kaftans, dresses and kimonos came about during Covid-19, when she realised she needed a change. Cindy’s hobby at the time was making beaded jewellery, and she thought, why not start selling it?

“I loved being expressive and creative, and decided to give it a try. From beads I moved to kaftans and tie-dye. Why kaftans, you might ask? Well, they are light, comfortable and breezy, hide all manner of sin and I feel like a queen when I’m wearing mine,“
she says.

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“Actually, a clothing line was never in the back of my mind and I had no idea what to expect. I wanted to make women feel like royalty, and as a larger-than-life lady myself, I understand the difficulty in finding outfits that fit loosely, fabric that breathes and patterns that don’t look like your grandma’s curtains. Tie-dye might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the printed fabric I choose is bold and modern, combined with a lot of sexy and sass. I saw a need in the market for more plus-size creations, and as it turned out, all sizes like my creations.”

Cindy’s team is quite small at the moment, and consists of Cindy herself and Granny Khoza, a talented seamstress who helps with the sewing. For larger orders, she has Pieter and Elsie van Zyl of Cosmos Clothing assisting with bulk orders. The Earthly Collection range staples are kaftans, kimonos and maxi summer dresses, all sized up to fit the fuller figure comfortably.

“As I have built my business on kaftans, I am surprised to see a remarkable increase in the maxi summer dresses. They are light and loose with shoulder straps, and pockets! The kimonos are just pure indulgence. The printed versions are Eastern-inspired with the large open sleeves and thick trim, whereas the tie-dye kimono represents a shawl or throw, giving the impression you are wearing a boho-chic jacket.”

Cindy describes the process behind her outfits as a form of art. The fabric is washed and dried to get maximum shrinkage, then cut to size and sewn together. “At this point the fabric is a finished garment. This is when I perform my best magic trick and turn the blank canvas into a work of art, tying it into shapes that allow for bold expressive patterns as the dye seeps into all the nooks and crannies of the fabric. After completion I hang up the piece to dry, and just like an artist I feel a twinge of sadness that I can’t keep it.”

I love going to the markets, and can’t see myself giving that up any time soon. I need the chitchat, to see old friends, make new ones

From there the garments go on to their new owners, either via the online shop or local markets, which she describes as her support system and compass when she doubts herself. “I love going to the markets, and can’t see myself giving that up any time soon. I need the chitchat, to see old friends, make new ones. It’s more than just the sale, it’s the human connection, whether we are buying from one another or just fixing each other’s crowns. I love potential clients trying on an item and seeing that it fits beautifully. And most of all I love the smiles I get when I tell them: ‘The dress has no front, no back, no broeks, and no bra.’”

Inspired by random acts of kindness, Cindy’s favourite way to spend time is with her son. “I love watching him play,” she smiles. “He has such a vivid imagination and thirst for knowledge, and wants to talk about snakes and crocodiles all day long! These are the things that are good for mental and emotional health, the soul connection.” Cindy’s future plans include harem pants and gypsy skirts, and we can’t wait to see them!

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