By Zizipho Ntsomi
At the tender age of 17, Athenkosi Sityebi runs a sewing business called A.S at his home in Gqeberha. With only passion and limited funds, he started by hand tailoring his clothes and moved on to making designs from different cloths.
Athenkosi is a self-taught young designer that aspires to grow his business into a power house. He started sewing at the age of 8, where he showed his creativity by adjusting his pants to make them tight fits . Seeing that he has a skill, he held on to it because it was the only thing saving him from doing crime and drugs as his peers. He received positive feedback from friends and people in his community , KwaNoxolo township in Gqeberha when they also went to him to get their designs made.
As he is a high school pupil and a business man, he has to juggle school work and his business. “ I am still at school, so I make it a point that I take care of my school work first then make clothes. I mostly make clothes on weekends when I have more time” said a passionate Sityebi. The young man works in a shack made of iron in his back yard with only one sewing machine, but that does not stop him from meeting deadlines and making A.S a success.
The young A.S founder has been looking for funding for his business so that he can buy more equipment. The one challenge that he mentions is the lack of funds to buy material for his designs. Sityebi claims that he has brilliant designs to make but because of the shortage in cloths and material he cannot. He relies on his father and the small profit he makes to buy material for his designs.
He further talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down his business. Stores closed down and he could not get material, people were not coming in and his business got nearly crippled.
“ My dream is to collaborate with prominent fashion designers from all over South Africa and display my clothes on a runway. I would like to have someone who has been in the Industry for a long time as my mentor. I also want to go to an institution to enhance my skills,” said Sityebi.
At present he is currently working on a new range of clothing that will be unisex. He is working towards making his brand accessible to everyone by selling online.
Athenkosi Sityebi can be contacted for queries and orders on 078 508 4301.