SA Designers show you how to be frugal and fashionable

Who best to tell us how to look fabulously chic, while being frugal than a fashion designer? Not just any fashion designer, but South Africa’s top fashion designers; David Tlale,  Suzaan Heyns, Gavin Rajah,  Karen Ter Mostuizen, the fabulous designing duo at Klûk, Stiaan Louw, Terrence Bray, Saskia Koerner, and the lovely sisters, Caren and Gina Waldman, from TWO.


The general consensus? It’s certainly worthwhile saving up the pennies and investing in quality, like classic designer garments, even if there isn’t a recession, as it’s those investment pieces that will ensure you look fab,regardless of whether it’s a financial crises or a fashion crises.

Here are some snippets taken from our GLOSSY Magazine (November/ December 2009) issue. Read the full article free and online and remember, we welcome your interaction so use the comment box below.

What advice can you give South African women on how to be a fabulous and chic Recessionista?

DAVID TLALE: There is no compromise to style and it is entirely they way in which you put a look together that creates the style of fashion. A woman needs to look her best always and it’s a matter of sheer styling. (

SUZAAN HEYNS: Red lipstick makes any outfit look great. Buy cheap vintage scarves to accessorize handbags, worn around the neck or tied in a bow. Reinvent the way you look at things: An A-line, long skirt and high waisted harem pants can be pulled up to create a boob tube and belted in (to create) an all in one jumpsuit. Borrow your boyfriend’s jeans and belt them with a great vintage find. Weave ribbons around straps on heels to create a whole new look. Have your clothes re-tailored by an inexpensive tailor to reshape old styles i.e; Have shoulder pads put into an old jacket to create this season’s Belmain jacket shape look. Have a clothes swap with friends. (

GAVIN RAJAH: Rather then shopping for many cheaper items cut back and spend only on items that are of great quality. These items will outlast a recession and you would have shopped wisely. If you are unable to afford the retail price, then bide your time and wait for sale time or shop around for an alternative. Women who have a wardrobe of great basics only need to add or accentuate their look by adding accessories or a colour to their wardrobe, which is part of the trend for the season. Do not buy items of clothing which do not compliment your figure, or if you have many doubts about wearing it. Impulsive shopping during recession sales is also not a wise thing to do. (

Have you found that the global recession has influenced the way you design?

KAREN TER MOURSHUIZEN for LUNAR: No! Lunar is about good fabric, timeless design and quality. I think in a recession these characteristics are more important to consumers than ever and I am not prepared to compromise on any of them. (

KLUK (CGdT) MALCOLM KLUK and CHRISTIAAN GABRIEL DU TOIT: John Galliano said: “Just because there is a financial recession there should not be a creative recession!” And that is our philosophy – we are still designing for the woman who wants to look different, feminine and classic… but with some edge! (

STIAAN LOUW: Absolutely. During the peak of the recession I definitely felt more inclined to do work that was more minimalist and focused on retail as opposed to experimenting. I feel as there is a very slight shift in the economy now, that there is again a systematic return to ‘fantasy’ in fashion. I think that people are slowly ready to experiment again. (

What do you think is the one essential fashion item that every woman should have in her wardrobe?

TERRENCE BRAY: It is impossible to narrow this down to one item, this is too broad a statement! It depends entirely on the woman and on the season, but good shoes and bags can make any outfit complete. (

SASKIA KOERNER from MISFIT: Misfit sells a great dip-dye rayon scarf that doubles up as a sarong or can be wrapped as a dress in many ways – It’s classical, fun and depending on the occasion, can be worn in any way! (I say a great budget buy, and perfect for summer!) (

CAREN AND GINA WALDMAN from TWO: Gina: Leggings – the length this season is more kaftan than hip – so you can turn all your dresses into tops by adding leggings.
Caren: I am in love with my old denim jacket right now, I bought it when I was living in New York in the late 90’s. I fished it out of a cupboard at my mom’s house and haven’t stopped wearing it since– and it’s been a couple of months already. It’s timeless and makes any outfit look cool and urban. I think everyone needs to own a good denim jacket. (

Check out GLOSSY magazine (November/ December 2009) for the full interview. Click on the images to view larger versions of the spread



Francine Higham

Francine is a lover of designer flare and originality, but addicted to finding the look for less on the high street. She’s a sucker for a bargain, but willing to spend where quality counts.

11   255
2   139
5   527
4   453
14   486

Follow on Instagram