“When a women wears the clothes I made, she will definitely look beautiful and different from the rest,” says local fashion designer Ntombekhaya Hambaze, affectionately known as Ntosh.
Born in Tantyi, Hambaze always liked to look different from other girls and started to design and sew her own clothes from the age of 16.
She completed her matric in 1994 and a year later went to Bethelsdorp Technical College in Port Elizabeth to study fashion design. After completing her certified course there, she enrolled at Walter Sisulu University and completed a diploma in fashion design.She worked at home until she opened her own shop at 16 Bathurst Street in 2007.
“ I look at the client’s figure and advise them on what would look good on them,” she says.
“I do not work with catalogues because I want to design clothes according to individual needs, I do not like copy cats,” Hambaze says.
A single mother of two girls aged two and eleven, she admits that it can be tough at times. She says she often encounters challenges while running her own business and working alone.
“I try very hard to be flexible, if clients are not satisfied, I re-do the design, I want my clients to be happy.”
Her designs are for women only because she finds making men’s clothing too challenging. “Men’s wear is demanding and sometimes I have to increase the production and sale price and struggle to get paid in return.”
Hambaze enjoys working in Grahamstown as the people here are easy-going and do not make extravagant requests unlike in big cities.
She says her ultimate goal is to be a distributor for retail shops and to make bedding and curtains.
“I am hoping for a bigger place to work so that I can expand but fundingand finding a bigger place is a problem,” she says.
Two years ago her application at Umsobomvu Youth Fund in PE was rejected because she lives 100km from the funds office and Grahamstown does not have a similar office.
“I will not give up, the sky is the limit for me and God is by my side.”
Hambaze can be contacted on 0833387319.