"To me, success is seeing women walk out of my studio one step closer to being the best version of themselves."
Mel Brookes – Fashion Designer in Cape Town, South Africa.
Fashion is not just about an item of clothing, it’s about wearing what makes you happy. Mel Brookes, a South African designer, believes that when women feel beautiful, they look beautiful. “It’s a universal insight that universal clothing cannot satisfy.” A wife, a mother, a designer, and a self-love enthusiast, Mel Brookes is passionate about helping women feel comfortable in their own skin. With her love for positive affirmations and projecting positive energy, Mel Brookes leads with her heart.
After giving birth, Mel felt uncomfortable in the clothing that was available to her, and so out her enigmatic brand was born. “My brand is all about the great fit, quality fabrics, and timeless pieces that grow with you.”
What motivated you to study fashion design?
Since leaving school, I have always enjoyed working in retail. Always enjoyed styling and merchandising inside stores. So, its something I’ve forever been drawn to.
You come from a diverse cultural background; growing up in South Africa and having lived and worked in Ireland for five years. How do you think diversity has inspired your vision?
I think it’s definitely had a profound effect on me and influenced the way I design. I don’t necessarily follow trends, so it’s given me a sense of individuality that I’m very comfortable with.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
This is really the most important aspect of my brand, vision, and business. It is the reason why I do this and why I started. I’ve seen it over and over again in my studio. Women literally change before my eyes. They feel empowered, unique, beautiful, and comfortable regardless of their size or shape. This is my goal.
What are your thoughts on self-love?
Self-love is such a huge part of who I am. I am an advocate for this and really use my platform to encourage women to love themselves. You cannot truly be comfortable in your own skin if you don’t love every bit of yourself. Learning to do this is a journey and is the most liberating experience. I like to think that I’m not just creating pretty dresses—but playing a part in your journey to self-discovery and self-love.
How do you balance making a good business decision and staying true to your creative vision?
This can be tough. And it’s so easy to lose your creativity based on a business decision. I’m very guilty of following my heart and doing what feels right. I pretty much do that a lot but I have my husband who is my sound board and very much a critical thinker. However, I will say if it doesn’t feel right, I’m not doing it.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your label?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that you should always stay true to your identity and that everyone’s journey is their own.
What is your definition of success?
Everyone has a different idea of what success is for them. My definition is of success is to feel happy and content with where you are in life. Living your passion. Sometimes you think working towards the very top makes you successful, only to get to the top and you’re not happy. I’ve learnt I’m happiest with the simple things. Which is changing the lives of women as they step out into the world in my creations. My success is seeing them walk out of my studio one step closer to being their best self.
What are three important things any female frontier should know?
- Know the type of women you want to be.
- Be prepared to work hard because that’s where the opportunities lie.
- Be brave and fearless.
With the big boom in social media careers, what are your two tips for using these platforms effectively and efficiently?
.Always use your platform to add value, and be authentic in telling your story.
What advice would you give to emerging female designers entering the world of fashion?
Know who you are. Having your own identity and staying true to it is going to be your best tool in keeping your following connected to you.