Lehabe is at the helm of Bookha Creations, a boutique brand that embodies current and emerging trends, while remaining distinctly South African. He garners his influence from art and social issues affecting ordinary people.
“My designs and collections always have a social responsibility message attached to them,” he says. “My design philosophy has always been to use my skills to inspire people and encourage dialogue.”
Growing up in Ganyesa
Born in the rural village of Ganyesa in North West province, Lehabe attended school in Vryberg and later matriculated in Bloemfontein. He says his upbringing greatly impacted his outlook on fashion today.
“Growing up in the North West influenced my design style as I was exposed to authentic African garments and contemporary style. Today, my design signature really reflects this,” he says.
With a marketing degree and a BA degree in fashion design, Lehabe cut his teeth in the fashion industry as a buying and design intern at the Foschini Group.
Building a brand
In 2014 Lehabe launched his fashion business with the goal of creating garments for the sartorially inclined.
“I wanted to create something that shows my style… a clothing brand that provides well-made garments that reflect alternative individualism. I also want to do my part to curb unemployment rates by using my skills,” he says.
The industry has taken note of the brand. Lehabe’s work has been featured extensively in fashion shows, magazines, trade events and art galleries across the country.
“I’ve been fortunate that the right people have seen and appreciate my work and dedication to my craft,” he muses.
His entrepreneurial journey has not been without its challenges, however. The financial cost of getting the company off the ground, and finding the right team has been tough. He says he’s overcome these hurdles by being resourceful and committed.
Looking ahead, Lehabe says he has great plans for growth. He has his eye on showing at Fashion Week, establishing an online store and getting his garments to more people, not only in SA, but also across the continent and Europe.
“I still have a lot of work to do, but it’s been so surreal for a boy from Ganyesa to see his brand on all these amazing platforms. It’s been an amazing journey so far!”
Lehabe’s success secrets:
• Work hard and pay attention to detail.
• Always be open to learning.
• Stay dedicated to your goals and focus on reaching them.