David Tlale explains why he won’t dress SA celebrities for free

David Tlale. Picture: Instagram.

David Tlale. Picture: Instagram.

Published May 22, 2024


South Africa is spoilt for choice by the array of talented designers who have built successful names for themselves.

We have the likes of David Tlale, Thebe Magugu, Maxhosa Africa and many others who are known for creating high-quality garments that compete on the international stage.

On a recent episode of “Podcast and Chill”, multi-award-winning designer Tlale opened up about celebrities who take advantage of local designers.

He didn’t mention names but said some celebrities did not respect local designers because they expected them to dress them for free but when it came to international designers, they did not mind spending their money.

“We produce all our products in South Africa, but people go to Laduma store and they’re like: ‘No, I’m not going to buy Laduma because it’s too expensive.”

“But they have the nerve to go to Diamond Walk and drop R200K in one day, buying two items."

Tlale said the beef he had with many celebrities was that they did not treat international brands the way they treated local brands.

“I have to buy fabric, pay my team, pay rent where I’m working, and they wear a dress, but before they wear the dress, they buy a YSL bag, and what do they do? They unbox and it’s YSL this and that. David Tlale is like ‘by the way’.

“But, they did not get the YSL for free, they bought it, and are doing free PR for this international brand who don’t give a hoot about who they are,” he added.

Meanwhile, Inga Gubeka of Inga Africa, felt differently.

“I disagree with people who say local brands are not supported. Maxhosa, Drip and Bathu wouldn’t have as many stores if they were not supported by South Africans. Every day, we see people wearing local brands,” Gubeka said.

Fashion experts, like Fashion Moments, also weighed in on the matter by saying celebrities who expected to be dressed for free by local designers yet splurged on international brands were hypocrites.

“David didn’t say that local celebrities do not support local designers. His beef is when they start saying they don’t have a budget whenever they want local designers to dress them for red carpet events when they can go to their gigs dripped in Gucci from head to toe.

“Moreover, they’re missing out on the benefits of loyalty programs & exclusive experiences that established local brands can offer.

“If they genuinely want to support the local fashion industry, they should be willing to invest more and build meaningful relationships with designers,” commented Fashion Moments.

Supporting local brands benefits the designers and contributes to the growth of the South African economy, hence organisations like Proudly South African advocate for the support of local brands.