The fashion industry is an ever-changing world full of creativity that makes people look and feel good about themselves. We chat to Shikombiso Bila, a designer and founder of Maxelostyle knitwear brand.
Please take us through the birth of Maxelo Style, how it started and what was the inspiration behind it?
I started with making a hat for my son. I posted the hat on socials and people loved it. I grew up crocheting as a hobby. I loved it as well as fashion to a point where my varsity friends advised me to go study fashion design. Hopefully one day I’ll enroll for a fashion design course.
It was inspired by my son Maxelo, hence I named the brand Maxelostyle. I wanted to provide for him as well as teach him that it’s possible to start a business and succeed as long as you are consistent and put effort.
Is Maxelo Style’s knitwear made for a specific target group and why?
The brand was for everyone and lately it was targeting mostly girls. I am soon to introduce a collection for boys as well. The brand’s xibelani and crop top is aimed at educating young girls to love their culture and do it in a fashionable way as times are changing. I want to be part of people who preserve the Xitsonga culture through my brand, however, my outfits are not limited to the Tsonga tribe.
Looking at how it started, are there lessons learned and how do you plan to move forward?
Yes, I learned to not only focus on production but also learn business skills. I learned to deal with different customers. I plan to hire as many people as I can to meet the demand. I would like to get a production house where we manufacture our products. I would like every girl around the world to have a maxelostyle outfit.
Are there any health challenges that comes when working with wool, if yes, what are those and how do you deal with them?
Yes, when we cut wool, we sometimes inhale it which is a health threat. Currently we use face masks, but we are working on finding a better solution to this problem.
Are there new developments, like a new range of knitwear in the pipeline waiting for release?
Definitely, I gave birth to my second son in January and I am already planning a newborn range dedicated to him. We are also working on a festive collection for the young girls and boys, exciting range. Release dates to be announced.
Have you received awards or recognition from local and international authorities and what are those?
I was honored by Collins Chavani Municipality for reviving the xibelani outfit.
Where do you see maxelo style in the next three years from now?
We plan to showcase on the famous fashion platform SA Fashion Week, and hopefully one or more international runways. I see Maxelostyle as an international brand, owning our production house and a number of shops, a few outside South Africa.