Aya Velase is a contemporary women's ready to wear fashion brand launched on the 21st of March 2014 with a Fall/Winter 2014 runway collection presentation at Mercedes-Benz fashion week, Africa fashion International. The Aya Velase (Previously known as Ayanda Mthembu) debut collection was accompanied by positive reviews from the Continental African fashion press, followed by numerous fashion publication editorial appearances and international media personalities requesting to be dressed by the brand for public and television appearances, all within the first 3 months after the brand was launched. The genuine and positive media reaction to the precise, innovative and thought provoking Aya Velase aesthetic has provided this young brand with platforms and coverage, which have heightened the brand's presence, prominence and reputation, merely after one season of being operational.With all the organic, positive response and publicity generated through our debut collection and our Spring/Summer 2015 presentation thereafter. Aya Velase is about translating idealistic and conceptual ideas into wearable pieces, utilitarian enough for the career oriented woman to move with ease while still maintaining a uniquely crafted look. Ayanda Mthembu (The brand founder and creative director) is ready to fortify the commercial aspect of the brand, with future plans to establish the brand in a fashion capital such as New York.
The Aya Velase brand has functioned as a one man (sole proprietorship) business thus far, with the founder Aya Mthembu fulfilling all the required duties of the brand, from the creative aspects of creative direction and designing to sample production elements like garment and pattern technology. The founder aspires to have the business registered as a Limited liability corporation (LLC) in the near future. The past 2 collections that have been presented by the brand were practically executed by the founder himself with the help of 2 freelance seamstresses for excellent quality. Since the Aya Velase business is not fully fledged commercially. The founder has reached a point where a professional management structure and infrastructure must be implemented. These structures must be implemented at a start-up level, as the brand has recently received opportunities for commercial growth. The Aya Velase brand has been approached by 2 stockists thus far. The first stockist that has approached the brand has been a high end boutique called 30 on Marriot in one of the 3capital cities of South Africa and the second one has been a concept store named Red Vatican from the United Kingdom, London. These requests have come merely after 2 seasons of the brand being operational. As the Aya Velase brand is a start-up business that has been merely surviving on private client business, it has encountered great financial limitations with regards to fulfilling the commercial production and manufacturing requirements for these 2 stockists, Hence the need for investment and a more professional management structural plan to carry the business forward. Based on the strong reaction of the South African fashion press and general public towards the Aya Velase collections and the prospective International commercial opportunities that have been presented to the brand, it is about time that the founder spends more time on strategic matters for the effective growth of the brand.
The founder of the Aya Velase brand, Mr Ayanda Mthembu is a qualified fashion designer with a fashion and textiles diploma from the Durban University of technology, South Africa. He has gained experiences in most of the critical aspects of the business of fashion such as working in a high end fashion studio environment, retail and manufacturing. He has worked as a freelance stylist for high end fashion label Jenni Button in one of their retail stores in Durban, South Africa. He's also had a brief manufacturing experiential training facilitated by his Academic institution, at a manufacturing company called Gemelli clothing. He was also the winner of a mentorship programme facilitated by his hometown provincial government, because of his outstanding creative vision. The mentorship programme afforded him the opportunity to be mentored by David Tlale, one of the most influential and internationally recognised fashion designers in the African continent. This career transforming programme has also afforded him the opportunity to travel to New York City to learn about the global marketplace of fashion at New York Fashion week Spring/Summer 2015, as well as presenting his own Fall/Winter 2014 collection at Mercedes Benz fashion week in South Africa and a Spring/Summer 2015 collection at the Durban Fashion fair. Both the academic training and the above mentioned international experiences and platforms have enabled Ayanda Mthembu to gain all the intensive skills and knowledge required to craft his own creative vision into a feasible and viable fashion business model. With Ayanda Mthembu as the founder of the brand already intact, he is now faced with the responsibility to scout the key skills and talent required to materialize the Aya Velase vision into a unique and viable fashion business. As the business gets established commercially Ayanda Mthembu will continue taking on the main roles of running the business such as creative directorship which entails all the creative elements of the brand such as design, concept formulation and product development as well as production management such as manufacturing and distribution. Basically the founder will also have to oversee the management of all the functional requirements of the business from the internal ones to the outsourced ones, including marketing, sales, public relations, personnel management and all the infrastructural necessities until more defined management roles are implemented. Mthembu will continue to be practically involved in all the facets of the business while consulting with fashion business consultants as well as legal experts to guide through the fashion start-up process.