December 2016. Interview by: Mies Jacobs. Cover: Kumari Govender - courtesy of Toni-Lee Arendse
The quintessential fashionista, Kumari Govender is an influencer, tastemaker, curator of style and fashion entrepreneur. She is a one women army who has seduced a whole generation of style mavens with her piercing fashion insights, and her spot on recommendations. Perkolate recently got the chance to speak to the fashionista about how it all got started and what exciting new developments are on the horizon.
First of all, please tell us a little bit about your background and where did the love of fashion begin?
Kumari: I have a project management / QS background. I worked in the corrosion engineering industry for many years. A typical day was spent interpreting plans, preparing cost estimates and labour schedules, timescales, compiling tenders and contractual documents for various projects and liaising with contractors and engineers on site. I thoroughly enjoyed my job especially crunching numbers. When working on multi-million rand projects, the satisfaction and sense of achievement at the end of a project was incredible. But fashion has always been my calling. Passion drove me to make the transition into the world of fashion. I have always had a love for color, texture and pattern. Of vividness and contrast! But I was also blessed with an entrepreneurial spirit. And that kind of tripped things up. I love that I still get to channel my creativity and apply my rigorous organizational and multi-tasking skills daily.
“...I have always had a love for color, texture and pattern. Of vividness and contrast!” - Kumari Govender
Who has been the most significant role model and mentor in your life and why?
Kumari: My parents have been my greatest role models and my source of inspiration. They have always encouraged me to be spiritual, to practice gratitude, to give generously and rise above adversity. My strength and my mentor has been my husband. He is always supportive and encouraging. He is my discerning rock!
You are widely regarded as someone with her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of fashion and the trends on the horizon. How do you keep yourself in the know and what are your favorite upcoming trends?
Kumari: I stay on top of what's happening in the industry by subscribing to trade journals and I pay close attention to all the seasonal shows in New York, Milan and Paris. Robes are one of my favourite trends at the moment, naturally! I am also especially loving the continued obsession with shoulders – cut-out and bardot off-the-shoulder styles. You can also expect to see a lot of bold stripes in vibrant shades in the coming year. My favourite colours to look out for in 2017 - Kale, cheerful shades of yellow, tangy yellow-green and pink yarrow.
“...The designs are opulent, bold and fearless. Very much my signature style of maximalist chic...” - Kumari Govender
Do you dabble in design as well and if so which do you prefer accessories or clothing?
Kumari: Most of my clothing are bespoke, custom pieces. I love to conceptualize unique and bold designs that you can’t really find in every store. I love accessories; they can take any ensemble to the next level. But I feel my expressions are too expansive for the relatively condensed canvas of accessories. So clothing it is.
You are launching something very exciting this December. Please tell us more about it?
Kumari: Yes!! This December I am launching my own clothing line under the umbrella of the Haute Edit brand. The debut effort is kimonos, robes and luxurious night gowns in beautiful, vibrant colors. The designs are opulent, bold and fearless. Very much my signature style of maximalist chic. I have used embellishments and trimmings in gaudy silk and delicate stonework and threadwork. They are envy inspiring pool side dazzlers or soiree winners. All my pieces are limited edition, so there are only one or two of each piece available. Exclusivity adds to the Haute Edit appeal. All garments come beautifully packaged in our exquisite Gift Boxes.
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