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Marianne Fassler: The perennial fashion designer

Updated: May 13, 2019



Marianne Fassler @mariannefasslerofficial , is a name that needs no introduction. She is the perennially successful, South African fashion designer behind the creative studio, Leopard Frock @leopardfrock. Marianne tells us that she always knew she would be part of the creative world, although she initially thought that it would be as a sculptor and a fine artist. However, whilst completing her fine arts degree, two things happened which shifted her focus: she realised that she preferred more functional crafting and she fell pregnant with her first child. Being married to a fellow student herself at the time, meant she needed to find a way to help contribute to the household. This saw her going to dressmaking school to learn how to make her own clothes, with her creative background serving her well in designing unique pieces which caught everybody’s eye. There was no internet or social media at the time, and of course a limited budget, so Marianne used herself as her advertising vehicle, wearing her own clothing and hosting fashion shows in her local community. Her interaction with, and dressing of many creative professionals, lead to her being featured in the media. Her style of design promoted an ethnicity that was unusually African and so it appealed across the colour line. Four decades later, Marianne says that she owes her longevity to her ability for continued play, her inquiring mind, her focus on constantly renewing and refreshing her brand, and through surrounding herself with fresh, young talent - she has mentored almost every successful designer in the country! Her design style is thus timeless and contemporary and “fresh for the time”.

We are inspired by Marianne’s creative journey and continued success in an industry which can be so fickle - this type of success requires a keen eye for not only reading trends and client needs but also the ability to shape a creative narrative that appeals to women across all ages, over time. Marianne says that she lives her art, that it is how she expresses herself, and that when she is not creating, she is all about her family and loves feeding and nurturing them.

Featured artist: Marlene Steyn @marlenehettie

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