“The 6th of July 2016, was a significant milestone in Stephen’s life, as it marked not only his 30th Birthday, but also the fulfilment of a lifelong pursuit to establish his own brand within the fashion industry. He has attained the ability to connect knowledge, past experiences and creativity to successfully drive his brand, specialising in bespoke wedding dresses, red-carpet couture and luxurious resort ready-to-wear. His work has been described as “Unique couture evening gowns that are not aimed at camouflaging the woman, but dressing and enhancing her feminine character. ”
Stephen grew up in Kathu, a small town situated in the heart of the Northern Cape, bordering the enigmatic Kalahari.
Stephen studied at Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion design in Stellenbosch. After graduating top of his class in 2007 and receiving several awards as a young design student, he was determined to leave his mark in the South African fashion industry.
Shortly after graduation, he was appointed as designer, product developer and PR-liaison at the Cape Town based accessory leathercraft company, Cape Cobra, which specialises in the design and manufacture of exquisite exotic leather goods for local and international clientele. Within this well-established luxury company a stable platform unveiled for this young designer. Stephen had the privilege of working with top International brands in the pursuit of developing their exotic leather accessory collections, whilst absorbing the creative energy and knowledge of these global icons.
A chance meeting in 2010 with Teresa Joubert, close friend and fellow designer, culminated in a 2-year business partnership and the founding of the Gelieft Brand – mainly specialising in the design of made-to-measure wedding dresses.
At the beginning of 2012, Stephen relocated to the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town and joined the eminent fashion house of couture and prêt-a-porter, Rosenwerth. Under the creative leadership of both Elzbieta and Gabi Rosenwerth, Stephen cultivated a profound understanding of the modern woman’s style and a discerning eye for luxury fashion.
In 2014 he took up the position of studio manager and assistant designer at Gavin Rajah Atelier – a fashion atelier that is synonymous with fine craftsmanship, luxurious finishes and fine fabrication. While working under the guidance of Gavin Rajah, Stephen had the honour of traveling internationally and immerse himself in the fundamentals of managing a successful international fashion brand – he counts this as one of the most rewarding experiences of his career. (Image: Stephanie De Jager Photography)