A tale of Tricia's Tailoring
Tricia Solomon is one of the most remarkable Angels we have had the joy of welcoming into our family. As a Fashion Designer, she creates the most gorgeous pieces and her workmanship is out of this world! Even beyond the industry challenges, Tricia has overcome many personal obstacles and has inspired hundreds of our show guests and fellow Angels to keep fighting the good fight and never give up on their dreams!
We bring you an exclusive interview with this mesmerising mind - enjoy!!!
1. Let's jump right in, shall we? Can you walk us through some of your toughest challenges as a design professional?
Well, my journey began in 1994. I had completed 3 years of a National Qualification at CPUT and at that time the formal clothing industry was not an ethnically diverse environment. I still remember my 2nd year pracs: I was told I'd never make it in this industry. I was young then, and I was from a disadvantaged community, so you can imagine how daunting it was to hear those words being uttered to my face, but I pushed through the pain; I knew I had a God-given talent and that I had to share it with the world.
Cheap and nasty quality garments were being imported and crippling the once-flourishing clothing economy in both Durban and Cape Town; factories were closing down everywhere and that posed a huge threat, especially for designers like me. Everything built up to a crescendo and I left the formal fashion world to work in retail, finance, healthcare and even other corporate environments... but clothing design is in my blood. I used all of my working experience to propel myself back into the space I knew I belonged, and wow was I grateful. I realised that a lot of designers lack those critical business skills I had gained, and that gave me an upper hand, despite what I was told all those years ago
2. Personal and professional challenges are almost interlinked at times. CAFB 2016 saw mountains of praise for your ability to thrive and succeed, not being deterred by a physical impairment. How would say yourpersonal challenges have prepared you for this cut-throat industry in South Africa?
I schooled at 'normal schools' instead of those specially designed for physically impaired students. I saw myself as a regular person with the ability to compete like anyone else around me, and that attitude has really carried me through to where I am today. Living with a visible impairment, you experience a lot of hurtful teasing and discrimination: it can really kill your inner drive at times but what I found was that once going through all of that, you can still decide to get up and get active and get going on your goals. This world is a competitive place, with or without an impairment, and I live by the philosophy of being different and shining bright no matter what.
3. How did you first hear about the CAFB, and what was it that appealed to you the most?
It was through a friend and family member, Estelle, whose extended family (Adrienne Walker) is part of the production team. I needed to get my label out there - that was the one part about business I really needed help with. I advertised before then, using mannequins, but having the opportunity to dress real models in my clothes was the cherry on top. CAFB created that platform for me, both on the catwalk and in terms of digital collateral.
4. In what way do you believe that aspiring Fashion Designers can gain from this programme?
Follow your dream and never ever give up - CAFB's photo shoots and fashion shows are great ways to get your clothes on models and acquire the professional photographs every designer needs. Being a part of this platform widens your networking circle, too, which is vital to any business. I think it's also a great thing to give back to the community and in that way count the many blessings we have.
5. If you could share one of the most significant ways the programme has assisted you or created a channel of growth,what would it be?
A colleague of mine, from a medical clinic, attended last year's CAFB 2016 #UrbanStreet fashion show. She then posted pictures on her Facebook page which translated into so many sales from 3 of her Facebook contacts this year.
6. Standing up for women, the physically impaired community as well as South African designers, what is your greatest motivation, day after day?
Honestly... God. Day after day, through all of the struggles and the ups and downs, God gets me from one day to the next. Knowing that He has given me this talent encourages me to constantly grow and improve. Furthermore, clothing design is in my blood - it’s my default setting!
7. What would be your personal message to aspiring Fashion Designers in South Africa?
It is tough but others have done it before you and are doing it now, you can too.
Whoa! We'll give you a moment to just let that power and grace sink in... when you're done being amazed here, you can head over to her Facebook page and be amazed over there, too!