Michelle Loewenstein
4 minute read
13 Mar 2014
7:00 am

Shana Morland makes a success of her passion

Michelle Loewenstein

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ) is around the corner, and South Africa's top designers are hard at work preparing for the event.

Shana Morland, left, with her mother, Stefania. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark.

Among them is Shana Morland, a 25-year-old with an eye for trends and passion for her craft. Morland is no stranger to the fashion bisiness – her mother Stefania is a respected name in the industry.

Morland’s label Shana has proved itself to be a sustainable business endeavour, with two stores opening up over the past year: Cloth & Steel (co-owned by Morland, boyfriend Robbi Gorelick, Nicola West of West Clothing and Daniel Fuller of Daniel Fuller Accessories) in Cape Town, and Stefania Morland & Shana in Johannesburg.

Designs from Shana Morland's show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town, 2013. Pictures: Simon Denier/SDR Photo.

Designs from Shana Morland’s show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town, 2013. Pictures: Simon Denier/SDR Photo.

We chatted to Morland about design, style dos and don’ts, and what she has in store for us at Fashion Week.

What is it that you love about fashion and design?

Everything about fashion intrigues me. I love the behind the scenes aspect, from creating an outfit or garment, to seeing how people dress themselves on the street.

How would you describe your designs?

I design clothes that I feel comfortable in and would like to wear. I’m inspired by edgy street fashion. My designs are never over the top, but I like to add prints or contrast textures to make garments more interesting.

From where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

Anything can inspire my designs. I love looking at the international catwalks and how these looks are captured in everyday streetwear. Fabrics can also have a big influence on the final look of a garment.

How has opening a store impacted on the way you approach your craft?

Opening our store has been the most positive business move we have made! My business partner Robbi Gorelick and I approached an empty space in Kloof Street about a pop-up shop, which we ran with two other designers. It’s was so successful that we’ve turned it into a permanent store and it’s a year later now.

How do your solo designs differ from those created in conjunction with your mother?

There are obviously a lot of similarities as we share the same tastes when it comes to designing. However, I do use a lot more knits in my collections, which add to their streetwear appeal. I design with myself in mind so, I won’t make anything I wouldn’t wear.

Shana

How has having a mom in the fashion industry influenced your career?

I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor in this industry! I have learnt so much from her – it would’ve taken me years to do this on my own. She really has a unique, global approach to designing and working with her has been such an incredible and exciting experience so far.

What five fashion items should every woman have in her closet and why?

The fall-back outfit: this is something you know looks good on you. After you’ve exhausted all other options, you know you can always put this on.

Flattering pants: for me, these are a black pair of stretch jeans that fit me well and can be paired with any top.

Killer shoes: no explanation required. Good underwear.

A cocktail/evening dress: a dress that flatters and shows off just enough skin is a must.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest mistake that women make when choosing their clothing?

I think women tend to make their choices a bit too much by “rules” of fashion that have been prescribed to them. We limit ourselves so much when we switch off to something without actually giving it a try.

What trends should women look out for this winter in South Africa?

Some of the trends that will be seen in my latest collection are luxe fabrics, faux fur and embellished necklines. I’m really into the idea of layering outfits while working with limited styles.

What would your advice be to aspiring fashion designers?

Get as much experience working for other designers as you can before venturing out on your own. It’s not as easy and glamorous as it looks, but it is a lot of fun!

If you could design an outfit for any celebrity, who would it be and why?

I would choose Kate Moss. I think she has such great taste in fashion and an outfit designed for her would suit the look and feel of my brand exactly.