“Believe in yourself and be prepared to work hard” – Stella McCartney
The first time I met Stephanie Lesabe was at a women’s networking session hosted by The Wine Grid at the Eighteen13 Boutique Wine Shop in Cedar Square Fourways a few years ago – we briefly spoke, exchanged contact details and kept in touch. Fast forward to the opening of her store at the 27 Boxes in Melville and then her superb work creating my wedding dress…on the tightest of deadlines – the time had come for me to have a sit down with the creative talent behind Moonyu Fashion Studio, which was recently rebranded to Olea Lifestyle
Her strong work ethic and incredible passion have seen her make the choices that saw her choosing her own path and loving what she does. Obsessed with offering clients the very best in her work, as well as a high standard of professionalism at all times. Her quiet nature belies her feisty and sassy spirit – and just her general awesomeness!
Established in 2011, Olea Lifestyle is a Jozi based fashion studio that focuses on producing well-crafted ready to wear and bespoke collections for women – and they fit you like a glove, for lack of a better expression. Olea caters to women of all shapes and sizes, each item is produced with careful attention to detail, quality and always ensuring that the client receives the garment that they wanted and much more. Stephanie creates items that are not only trendy and versatile but also timeless, sophisticated and very comfortable, while making sure that items are kept exclusive by producing a limited number of each design.
“It’s not about brand, it’s about style”
A firm believer in collaboration, Stephanie would love to see more artists and designers come together in an emporium type of set-up and hopes that 2017 and beyond offers many an opportunity to bring them together. Having worked with different artists over the years, Stephanie has her eye on the artists and designers whom she could work with for the emporium and together they can create the stage to showcase their work.
“I’ve had to rely on the platforms that I have created for myself, I haven’t come across or had the opportunity to collaborate with the big name designers to gain some exposure,” says Stephanie, “however that does not stop me from continuously working hard and producing the work I want – and validating myself.”
I love when she says “There is not a dress that I can’t make” and from seeing her work, I can absolutely vouch for that! There are so many designers who are in the same space as Moonyu, who are talented and produce incredible work, however because they don’t have the “big name” attached to it. The reality is that there is equal space for everyone in the industry, each role player needs to just own their spot and growth their clientele and brand.
Imagination is the beginning of creation
Stephanie has ventured into the world of furniture design, not the regular everyday style but specifically designed for the client and the brief received. Not one to say no to design work, Moonyu has moved into the design realm and are glad to expand their service offering. If you’re looking for something unique and one of a kind, you can speak to Stephanie and she can make it for you. Add in a graphic background, she is also a designer who can offer you various design work, logos; websites and the like. Very early on she knew that she was not the office type of employee, and worked as a freelancer for a few years before joining a newspaper publication. After a short stint that was quite intense, late nights which would sometimes include not knowing how she would get home, she eventually found the opportunity to leave and focus on her true passion.
Before 27 Boxes came to be, Stephanie almost became a teacher and then there was a possibility of working in the construction field –her mother at this point would have been happy with either one, as she just wanted her daughter to find her way. “My mom has been my biggest supporter, she just wants me to be okay and settled,” shares Stephanie, “it is hard but as they say – if it was easy then everybody would be doing it.”
“I do believe that as long as I keep going, I will reach that summit and I cannot give up now.” What amazes me about Stephanie is that she refuses to let her frustrations and setbacks weigh her down, where most people buckle under pressure, she gains her strength from prayer and believing wholeheartedly that a way is being made for her – she will make it.
Remembering to look at the bigger picture, almost five years in the industry, she is moving in the direction she wants to and is making her dream a reality day by day.
“Life’s too short to wear boring clothes”… and boring is not what you will get at Olea, so do the right thing.
Facebook – Moonyu Fashion Studio (@oleaSouthAfrica)
Twitter – @olealifestyle
Words By Phumeza Langa