Natheal Visagie a young designer from Ocean View, and the designer behind the brand ENVY. Natheal studied at the Design Academy of Fashion in Woodstock and got his diploma in 2019. He worked for a bit thereafter and whilst working he also did his 4th year in fashion to get his advanced diploma, then completed his course at the end of 2021 whilst working a full-time job and graduated Summa Cum Laude in April 22.

He started out wanting to go into bridal wear as nothing excites him more than seeing a woman in her dream wedding dress!. His dream then changed but the core value remained, comfortability. Natheal then started figuring out who he is and the message he wants to convey to the world through his work. “A lot of the research goes back to growing up and how shopping for clothing became difficult to find the older and bigger I got”, Natheal says. Besides trying to find clothing that fit, he faced the struggle of finding clothing that was on trend in his size as well! This then forced him to always cater to all body types as they all are beautiful and are deserving acceptance and love! Natheal is an extremely technical person as many of his family and friends can confirm.

” when designing I always tend to design with a message in mind. To me designing without purpose/meaning creates art that isn’t as strong as it could be “.

He also spends a lot of time in his head thinking about messages and the way in which it can be interpreted. Natheal remembers his first drawing he did of a dress and was only in grade 6, he mentions it was a dress for his cousin’s matric dance, he showed her the dress and she turned it down, thankfully so the dress she had was beautiful for its time. He then started making clothes for people whilst in his second year in college 2018 and has been doing it ever since more as a part time thing.

Artwork by Natheal Visagie. Muse: Zaun Mark Gordon

“I lean more towards the pattern-making, grading(sizing) and dress-making aspect than I do drawing designs”

One of Natheal’s biggest accomplishment is that he got to be part of the Gucci Fellowship program in 2019. “It was insane “ he mentions, It was definitely one of the most memorable experiences of his life. The programme has taught him many important lessons but the one that sticks the most out for him is that being your true self and having your own story is both important and powerful.

“There is power in authencity”.

We asked Natheal the question “Who inspires you ?” and he says he struggles to answer questions like that because to him many of his inspirations are everyday people, confident people who love their bodies and all people in between, but in terms of design inspiration that would be Iris Van Herpen, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Thebe Magugu,  Rich Mnisi and his Honorable mention would be Gucci & Balenciaga collection.

Model & Make-Up: Zaun Mark Gordon. Photographer: Andrea Van Niekerk

“you should be able to wear anything regardless of the shape or size of your body, and that your gender shouldn’t restrict you from wearing clothing that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin, you’ve only ever had one body and will only ever have one body so why not love it unconditionally ?”.

Model & Make-Up: Zaun Mark Gordon. Photographer: Andrea Van Niekerk

“You should always practice self-awareness and self-value, know your worth because once you do it’ll make it much harder for people to manipulate and misuse you. Work hard at things you’re good at but work harder at things you terrible at. Put boundaries in place and stick to them. To break boundaries, you’ve set for yourself to please others is disrespecting yourself, practice work and life balance being so exhausted you can barely stay up for an hour is not how you’ll become rich in life yes you’ll probably have a lot of money, but you won’t be able to spend that money because you’re to busy catching up on sleep because of how exhausted you are. You’ll miss important moments that money can’t  give you and you will forever live trying to catch up.

Written by: Rushan Kiel