Bonolo Zwane: The financial fashion designer
Updated: May 13, 2019
Bonolo Zwane, who originally hails from the actuarial and investments world, is the co-founder and creative designer behind the local fashion brand, Nje, @njecuratedfashion , which she runs together with her partner, Banele. After over a decade as an investment professional, Bonolo had a recurring dream about a tsunami coming to get her, which forced a necessary introspection about what she was meant to be doing with her life. This lead to the establishment of Nje, a multi-faceted fashion line classified along the themes of: work it, quirky me, multi do and turn up. Nje means “just” with the choice of name rooted in Bonolo’s own personal realisation that it is fine to be just as you are. Their intention is for the range to reflect the evolution of a woman over a day, a mood, a life-stage or her entire life. Bonolo cannot draw but this has not deterred her from finding a way of working with a team of pattern makers and seamstresses to bring her creative visions to life. Initially, they started off by outsourcing production locally but have since transitioned to manufacturing garments in their own workshop. Starting your own business is humbling, says Bonolo, as there is constant discomfort as you try grow your business, with nobody to tell you whether your decisions are going to work out.
We are inspired by Bonolo’s courage and tenacity in establishing a fashion brand from scratch, despite not being design trained! Bonolo tells us that one of her greatest personal challenges has been suffering from endometriosis with doctors initially telling her she would never have her own children - however, these days she is the proud mum of a baby boy.
Featured artist - Janine du Plessis @janine_duplessis