A passion for making fashion that fits

When It Comes To African Fashion, Keneilwe Mampuru Knows How To Tailor-Make A Business Offering To Fit Both Her Customers’ Needs And Unique Body Types. Through Working With The Branson Centre Of Entrepreneurship In South Africa, Keneilwe Has Learnt Valuable Business And Financial Skills, That Have Helped Her Take Her Fashion Business To The Next Level.

Born in Atteridgeville, South Africa, Keneilwe has been interested in fashion from a young age. After studying fashion design, Keneilwe noticed that most of the clothing she bought was manufactured abroad and didn’t fit her body type – often requiring her to tailor clothes in order for them to wear properly. As a result, Keneilwe developed a passion for designing and creating different types of clothing.

With a small amount of savings, Keneilwe Mampuru opened Kente by Keneilwe – a ladies’ fashion brand – using only iconic Kente cloth from Ghana.‘Kente by Keneilwe’ was created to dress women in a way that uplifts their spirit, embraces individuality and ensures women are proud of their body shape and size. Keneilwe doesn’t believe in ‘regulated’ sizes, making each outfit from scratch and tailoring around the client’s own unique measurements.

Image from Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa

Business started slowly, with a small and inconsistent client base. However, through partnering with the Branson Centre, Keneilwe quickly learned that as an entrepreneur, she had to grab opportunities, educate herself, know when to take advice, and practice self-discipline and time management.

“The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship has opened my eyes to business reality, that even though I had the passion and love for design and clothing, there was a lot more in keeping a business afloat”, she explains, referring to aspects of business management like financials and marketing plans. “The Centre has also helped me be open-minded, to be confident in presenting my brand.”
Today, Kente by Keneilwe is a fashion emporium, manufacturing garments with an aim to bring customers confidence and poise. “I want to be recognised as a label that is not only about fashion, but about making African prints into everyday wearable items, not just clothes for special occasions like traditional weddings”, she says.

I love that I change the way women see their bodies – it is amazing to see how just one garment can make someone love and appreciate their body.
Keneilwe is now a proud mentor to other young South African fashion design students – knowing that she couldn’t have built her business single handedly and still deeply valuing her own business mentor.
To find out more about Kente by Keneilwe follow them on Twitter and Facebook or to read more about young women taking positive action here’s Holly Branson’s Here come the girls blog – encouraging young girls to get body confident.