Reshaping Stereotypes in African Fashion
Posted on October 25, 2018
Psychology graduate Bontle Mosia is an entrepreneur using fashion as a tool to celebrate African print and body image to positively empower young women. “I started the Curve Essentials as a Facebook page in 2015 in order to promote body positivity and self love [then] in 2017 I lost my job and needed a way to make money as the bills were piling up.” Bontle posted samples of her work on Twitter and the response was strong enough to help the brand take off.
I’ve always been into selling to grow my income. With my first job I would sell handmade necklaces. Entrepreneurship has always been[a part of me] but I never thought I’d end up in fashion
She eased into the venture by juggling both a nine-five and a burgeoning enterprise: “The benefit of having a job is that I treat it like my number one investor. It’s my biggest source if capital.”
What started out as a plan to generate an income to make ends meet has grown into a full business and a passion project for Bontle. She uses the platform to promote cultural diversity and to help African youth integrate traditional wear into their everyday wear. “As Africans, we don’t wear enough African clothes. We only pull out our regalia for special occasions. I want African print to be so popular that it has a presence in boardrooms!” Her long term goal is to inspire Africans to represent their continent with what they wear. To normalize African print.
The second passion that Bontle’s business allows her to live out is spreading a positive body image for young women. “Spreading positive body messages is what inspired me to start the business. I want women to fully own their bodies and I want to make clothes that make women feel good about themselves.”The brand’s signature dress is called the infinity dress and it was designed for versatility – the idea of wearing the same dress in several different ways to stretch your wardrobe.
I have so much back fat! but my favourite items to wear are backless. I don’t care how uncomfortable it makes others feel – that’s the kind of confidence I want to instill in other women.
Being a young, female entrepreneur competing with larger and more established fashion brands has forced Bontle to discover her niche as well as use social media to create a presence that will cause traction.
I started my business on Twitter, literally! I built an audience and created an office thereafter. We’re in the digital era where everything happens online and it’s the smartest direction to go if you’re a small business still trying to grow.
Although the Curve Essentials has already built a strong following, Bontle feels that it’s time to reinvent the business by changing its brand image and renaming it to BAfrika. ” BAfrika will focus more on incorporating African fashion into corporate wear for young women – pant suits, corporate dresses and shirts. All inspired by bold and daring Afrocentric print”
The next 3-5 years for the charismatic entrepreneur are about challenging negative body stereotypes in the fashion industry, collaborating with other females entrepreneurs and finding spaces to rejuvenate and fuel her passion by connecting with other young people in business.
About the author:
Dimpho Lekgeu is an award nominated journalist. She started working as a news anchor at 19 years old; hosting daily news programs and the daily African bulletin. She aims to create dynamic platforms for African youth to boldly tell their stories and be inspired. She’s Christian and believes in black girl magic.