Winning student designer, Cleo, talks fashion

On Mother’s day the Fairview Racecourse in Port Elizabeth was host to a fashion extravaganza, when 16 NMMU students were asked to present garments to the theme “Art at the Races”.

Cleo Allison, 19,came out tops with a design inspired by a wrecked sculpture after a tornado, modelled by her sister Amber.

The winning design featured in The Herald LaFemme caught my attention  but on closer inspection I realised I knew both the designer and model. In fact I used to be their Sunday School teacher *Insert feeling ancient here* I had no idea how good Cleo was and decided I should interview her for my blog.

The soft spoken beauty has a feminine touch to her designs that for lack of a better phrase “make you feel pretty” and who doesn’t want to feel pretty…

….. Here is what she has to say about her work, and some pics of her designs

-PS. I’m IN LOVE with that blue dress she made for her friend’s son’s baptism IN LOVE oh and the red shorts make me want to hit the gym HARD!

Student designer Cleo Allison

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in the most insignificant things. I become so consumed by my inspiration that it becomes a part of who I am, of how I think and what I do while I’m designing a garment. By becoming ‘one’ with my work, we understand one another (the garment and I). To me that’s the recipe for a masterpiece.
What totally saps you from inspiration

Self-doubt is what usually saps me from inspiration, and this is partially my own fault. I question myself at the very end of the production process when obviously its too late to change anything. Second guessing decisions in terms of shape and colour and whether a certain silhouette might go with a certain contrast and shade.

What would you describe your personal style as?

Trendy, sometimes street style chic. I love comfort yet I keep it sophisticated.

What do you fill your days with?

My days are filled with meeting deadlines. Always on the go and I’ve always got something to do, If not at varsity then I jump behind my sewing machine for private work as soon as I get home. As long as everyday ends with a warm cup of chai under the covers

Where do you see your “brand” in a couple of years? WHAT IS THE DREAM

The field is broad and my options are open. I’m leaning towards a self-titled label and establishing myself as a fashion designer either for myself or a leading clothing manufacturer. Though thoughts of becoming a buyer has also crossed my mind several times. The dream ultimately is to make it big in the Mother City.

Where can people view/buy your stuff?

I make garments/outfits upon request from home. Being a full time student, unfortunately I don’t have the time to make and sell though I’d love to.

You can contact Cleo on

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