Born in July 1991, on her birthday, Gracia Bampile had what Oprah calls an “Aha moment”. Her parents had bought her what she calls an ugly African print dress to celebrate. It was so bad that it inspired her to start making clothes of her own at just eight years old.
Gracia spent hours watching her seamstress grandmother make clothes until she mastered the art. As she grew older, she became concerned about how people didn’t like to wear African print designs especially as day to day wear. She says people had a perception that they can only wear African print clothes when attending events. So, she took it upon herself to disrupt the norm.
In 2015, she founded Haute Afrika, the home of her day to day African print designs made to change the narrative around African fashion. She travels the continent in the hunt for high quality materials to create designs inspired by Africa’s history, heritage and stories for Africans from Cape to Cairo.
This formidable entrepreneur, who holds an International Relations degree, has no formal fashion training background, yet she has inserted herself as a trendsetter in an industry booming with talent. She quit her job with the United Nations to focus on changing the African Narrative through fashion. She has dressed some of Africa's biggest stars, her collection wows fashion lovers which saw her get featured on Vogue and BBC World.
In the midst of a pandemic, Gracia managed to open a new retail store in one of South Africa's most affluent shopping centres and her business grew.
Gracia is a classic example of African entrepreneurs who dare to challenge society and its norms only to set their own trends alight. You may not know her name now, but she is here to disrupt the fashion industry.
Gracia Bampile, remember her name.
Please see the link to her website and IG to learn more about this entrepreneur.