Businesswoman, innovator, icon, stylist, pioneer, influencer and mother, Kefilwe Mabote received The Next Big Thing/ Style in the City award at this year’s South African Style Awards.
Also on the list are actress Dineo Moeketsi with her rapper boyfriend Solo for Most Stylish Couple; DJ Black Coffee for Most Stylish Performing Artist in Music; and presenter Loot Love for Most Innovative Style.
"I am completely overwhelmed and amazed by this award. It's always been a dream of mine to be recognized as one of the key influencers and players in fashion and style in South Africa" says Kefilwe
2017 marks the 21st celebration of the SA Style Awards, and on Sunday 5th November, once again, accolades will be bestowed upon stalwarts in their respective fields, as well as young individuals making their mark.
Hailing from Soweto, this JHB-based business icon currently runs a successful styling business that evolved from a strong, fashion-forward social media footprint.
Raised by her mother and grandmother, Kefilwe’s innate passion for dressing up soon sprouted a demand for personal styling from family and friends. This starter-pack clientele base grew and so a career (although at times tumultuous) was born. Unfortunately, being a stylist was not viewed as a typical career for a young, black South African woman, and Kefilwe’s dreams were often met with backlash from those who believed conformity to work best.
Kefilwe attempted said conformity by beginning to study a BCom in the hopes of quietening her naysayers but soon realised she couldn’t continue down a passionless path.
It was no easy feat to get to where she is today and Kefilwe will be the first to admit she has experienced her fair share of rejection, bullying, failure and dream crushing. But, like the saying goes, it didn’t kill her, it only made her stronger.
Kefilwe’s, eventually very successful career, experienced a slow start as the fashion and styling industry was becoming over saturated and it had become more and more difficult to carve a unique name and brand. Kefilwe stood steadfast in her desires to style the elite and continued to create beautiful, luxe content for her lifestyle blog, Kefilwe Mabote. As her blog’s popularity increased, so too did her client list and social following. Kefilwe continued to work on her blog but also incorporated the power of social media to build her luxury brand. Today, she works with some of the world’s most elite brands and clients. Brands such as YSL, Cartier, Lamborghini and Prada are no stranger to all that is Kefilwe, but neither are H&M, TopShop and other more affordable fashion outlets. Kefilwe has a real knack for combining high-fashion with solid basics to create a unique and enviable style.
Ten years ago, the possibility of building a career through a phone would have seemed preposterous but today Kefilwe’s entire business is run through her social media channels. For her, these platforms have become the blank canvasses through which she can express her creativity and artistic aptitude. Kefilwe pushes for every post to be truly authentic and this is one of the reasons she has been able to grow an engaged, loyal following. An average engagement rate for Kefilwe is in the 13% mark which is very high considering the saturation of content on Instagram. Her fans trust her and know that she would never support a brand she didn’t like, used or believed in. You too can follow her on Instagram @kefilwe_mabote
With a career most people can only dream of and sights set on much bigger opportunities, Kefilwe has stuck to the roots from her simple beginnings and wants to inspire the youth that they too can create a career guided by their innate passions.