Malvern designer set to empower local youth with skills

Malvern designer set to empower local youth with skills

With 35 years of experience, the Malvern East resident went to Joubert Park College to acquire her qualification in Fashion Designing.

Cynthia Hovelmeier, a Malvern East-based fashion designer, shared her knowledge and skills with young people who aspire to be fashion designers.

Passionate about sowing and fashion designing from a young age, Cynthia empowers young people in more ways than one in the fashion space.

Memory Tshuma showcases a dress she made herself.

With 35 years of experience, the Malvern East resident went to Joubert Park College to acquire her qualification in Fashion Designing.

She worked in corporate for a few years until she was retrenched during Covid-19. Before that, she used to design dresses amongst other pieces in her spare time.

Losing her job motivated her to realise her dream of opening a fashion design business.

With a passion to help young people prosper in the space of the fashion world, she started to offer free lessons to young people.

While she was still working she used to help her former students with sowing and reading patterns.

Cynthia always had a passion to give back, especially to the youth with ambitions but no skills.

“There is a lady, Memory Tshuma, who has worked with me for a while. She now works with me on a part-time basis,” said Cynthia.

“I have a syllabus for her and we work on it together. She has a passion to make pillows and dresses,” she said.

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Thus far Cynthia has had five students who benefitted from her community empowerment outreach programme.

She is currently working with a young girl who studies fashion designing online but comes to Cynthia for practical lessons.

“We need to guide people and give everyone a chance in life. That’s why I have such a passion for teaching people who have ambitions,” explained Cynthia.

Cynthia Hovelmeier, a local fashion designer, with two of her students, Memory Tshuma and Betty Ncube.

“I believe that helping the youth and giving them the opportunity to shine sets them for a better future.

“The Kloppperpark Community Pageant competition offers young girls that platform to be empowered and grow confident in themselves.”

“The dresses will be on rental for free. Only those who will go through to the next level of the competition will have their own tailored dresses and gowns.

“I will also be helping them through Miss Ekurhuleni competition and hoping we reach the Miss South Africa level.”

“I will also be helping them to acquire skills in the fashion industry. Girls who are interested in pursuing a career in fashion design would be nurtured.

Not everyone can afford to pay for lessons but we need people who come with their willingness to learn and passion.

“My first student went to a school which closed down. He had a rough start but I helped him because he wanted to become a tailor. I want people to know that your background does not define you,” said Cynthia.

Memory, Cynthia’s student is also a Malvern East resident.

She started her training last year in November, with only knowledge of how to operate a sowing machine.

Memory said she has learnt a lot from Cynthia since then.

“Cynthia thought me all the basics and I now know how to make pyjamas, dresses, and pillows,” said Memory.

“I want to be a fashion designer with my own working space. I have loved fashion designing since I was young drawing the aspiration from my grandmother and my mother,” she said.

“In 2020 I went to study a fashion designing course at Africa House Fashion but I dropped out due to Covid-19,” said Memory.

Betty Ncube, from Thembisa, said her relationship with Cynthia began when she responded to Cynthia’s Facebook calling for promising designers.

“She teaches people how to sow in hopes of empowering them,” said Betty.

“I later got a job to use the industrial machine and I was doing alterations at a dry cleaning company. After Cynthia’s post, I quit the job to join her.

“Cynthia is passionate about her work and she is patient with her students,” said Betty.

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