When 19-year-old Seneo Mabengano was crowned Miss Botswana 2015/16 last week, many talked not only of her beautiful smile or her flawless cat walking on the ramp, but they also marvelled at the beautiful gown that she wore during the finale. Well, it has come to light that Botswana’s most beautiful girl was wearing a ThabieD original, a designer label owned by the talented Thabiso Dibeela.
Dibeela said besides being happy, it’s an encouragement on her side that her piece managed to impress. She won the top designer award for the pageant. It is, according to her, a confirmation that hard work and commitment pays. As reflected by the dress’s fabrics and colour choice it was based on a theme called Kalahari sunset. Despite the fineness of her product, it took Dibeela only two weeks to design and finish the dress. As the overall winner she has been now afforded the chance to design Mabengano’s dress for the Miss World grand finale due to take place in three weeks’ time.
Designing for beauty queens is not only what Dibeela specialises on. She has found a niche market in designing corporate wear. The corporate world is perceived by many to be a serious environment where laws and ethics apply and must be followed. And rightfully so because basically this is where the economics of any state are coordinated. Despite the seriousness of the industry though, fashion knows no boundaries.
Dibeela, who has made it her responsibility to see to it that this ‘serious’ men and women are well dressed, has this to say; “Make sure to choose colours that goes well with your complexion and fabrics that are comfortable with your silhouette.” In fact, she emphasises that it is no sin to add colour in the corporate world but says it has to be coordinated well.
The label was launched in April 2012 and it is so far one of the best designer labels that is slowly taking ground and shaping the local fashion scene. Keeping it as close to the slogan “exclusively you” that her label carries, Dibeela says she exclusively caters for the corporate world. When she designs, she says she tries to involve the client as much as possible to have that ‘you written all over it” effect. Her designs, she says, scream elegance.
As a fashion designer Dibeela says she believes that a garment is only fully beautiful if it goes well with the one who is wearing it. She does this by looking at the type of lifestyle one leads and then designing something that fits in with their characters. According to her, in the designing world it is important to build relationships with a client, to get a feel of who they are and what could go well with them.
About Thabiso Dibeela
Thabiso Dibeela graduated with an honours degree in Fashion Design in 2004 from the famous Durban Fashion Institution, Linea Academy.
But her love for fashion started when she was a primary school going kid in Sefhophe, where needle work became her favourite time of class. She continued her passion at Gaborone Secondary School as a student in fashion and fabrics.
She never struggled with career choices as her love and interest in fashion was now set and profound. When the Home Economics department at the University of Botswana could not absorb her, she knew it was a divine intervention ‘as she got to do what her career exactly needed; specialised training in fashion’.
Since graduating from Linea Academy, Dibeela has worked hard to grow her brand locally. She showcased her designs in various fashion shows locally including the True Blue Fashion show, Savanna Runaway, Redds Run up shows, the 40th Independence Fashion show, The Masa Lansmore Wedding Expo 2014 and 2015 and the Miss Botswana 2015 where she dressed participants both during the fashion show and in the grand finale. She also dresses a number of celebrities among them Kearoma Rantao, Nnunu Ramogotsi, Zenzele Hirchfieldt and Tshepo Maphanyane. She now wants to grow her label beyond borders.
But far from the clicking sounds of scissors and crispy smell of fabrics, Dibeela is an ordinary outgoing spiritual Motswana woman who is a Deacon at her church the UCCSA. She takes interest in other brethren’s lives and would go out of her way to help the disadvantaged. To highlight how serious she is with reaching out to others, she tells of how she recently decided to invite friends over to go with and donate blood on her birthday. The belief, she says, is that the blood will help save somebody’s life, some day.