FEMtrepreneur: Aysha Minty – The Skirt Couturier

She may refer to herself as a ‘newbie’ on the local design scene, however Aysha Minty has patterns and threads embedded in her DNA; her love for the intricate art was finely stitched from a young age as she observed the beautiful creations made by her grandmother. Launching The Skirt Couturier in late 2014, this dynamic 24-year-old expresses her originality through ravishing custom-made skirts that make a bold and memorable impression wherever they appear. Johannesburg-based Aysha shares what it’s like being a young FEMtrepreneur in the fashion industry today.

What inspired you to start your company?

As a little girl, I was extremely fussy when it came to my clothes and what I would or would not find funky enough to wear. This pushed me to first attend sewing classes at the age of 16 and the more I learned, the more this hobby turned into a career option for me. Starting The Skirt Couturier was an attempt to make an already stylish garment – the skirt – a tad bit modern by adding my own twist to it.

Where does your love of design and fashion come from?

My grandmother was an ordinary and traditional dressmaker and whenever she sewed, I was intrigued. I guess you could say it is a part of my genes, however, I loved – and still love – reading fashion magazines which play an important role in my design process.

What was the very first project you handled and how did it make you feel?

Once I’d taken the first step of starting my business, I had to put my artistic mind to the test and create my idea of the modern skirt. It entailed various trips to the fabric stores, collecting swatches of material and constructing my own patterns for the actual garments. That’s how my first designs such as the flowy circular skirt, the layered French tulle tea-length skirt and the pleated ball gown came about. Up to this day, any project begins with this step. This particular step was, and still is, the most fun-filled aspect of the project. By sampling the various fabrics and styles, you get a clear idea of what the end result will be. You feel more in control and are able to make the necessary changes required.

What challenges have you faced as a FEMtrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

The greatest challenge was getting clients and making people aware of my small business. To overcome this challenge, I began working with fashion bloggers such as Zakiyya (Loubilovers).

I once had my very own trunk show in my garage and was also a part of the Nspired pop-ups. Setting up my Instagram account helped my brand to gain exposure too.

How many hours do you work in a week?

On average, at least 35 hours a week.

What inspires your creativity and designs?

In addition to the variety of colours and textures of fabrics, the nature of my client inspires me the most. Each one has their own style and image, and my job is to make something for them that best suits their personality.

What has been the most effective way of marketing your business?

Word of mouth. The best advertiser is a happy client and a sold-out fabric supplier.

What is the most courageous thing you’ve done as a FEMtrepreneur?

For me, my business idea itself is the most courageous thing I’ve done. Not everyone deems a skirt worthy enough to wear for every occasion, or trusts the opinion and capabilities of a ‘newbie’ designer.

Describe yourself in three words:

Dramatic. Bossy. Meticulous.

What do you love most about your job?

The fabrics and nitty gritty little things that go with it.

Weekly visits to fabric stores, just to play dress-up with the vintage furs and sparkly gems.

Is there anything you dislike about your job?

Nothing in particular, except that I get very few hours of sleep every night.

What are your top three tips for starting your own business?

1. Just start, and take that first step. The road ahead is filled with bumps but it will be worth it.

2. Dedication is key.

3. Be open to change and adventures.

What has been your greatest career achievement thus far?

Being known as ‘the skirt girl’. Through my craft, I’ve been able to work and dress many different types of fashionistas. Whether it’s a casual tea-length skirt or a royal ball gown, every skirt has taken me on a new journey.

What does the future look like for The Skirt Couturier?

In order to progress, one must change. The journey is never-ending; I want to embrace my journey’s pace. I want to turn everything in my imagination… into creation.

Is there anyone you look up to and admire?

My parents. They have moulded me into the person I am today; my dad being my biggest critic and my mum, my right hand. The values and upbringing they’ve instilled in me play a huge role in my day-to-day life.

What advice would you give to other young aspiring designers?

Believe in yourself and your craft. It’s not about how many people like your work, it’s about how you feel about your work. Never be discouraged by failure and just give it your all.

Aysha pictured with models wearing her stunning skirts.

Fun facts about Aysha:

Favourite business tool:

My measuring tape

My personal style is…

Classic and contemporary

Heels or flats?

Both

Favourite skirt I’ve designed:

Textured brocade ball gown with pockets

I de-stress by:

Eating ice cream

Favourite shade of lipstick:

The shade ‘Brandy’ from JLO and Inglot’s collaboration

Book recommendation:

Q & A by Vikas Swarup

Celebrity I’d love to dress:

Sonam Kapoor

Fabrics I love working with:

Velvet, georgette and tulle.

The best way to style a skirt is…

With the perfect tee.

Favourite coffee haunt or restaurant:

Sally Williams.

Their Turkish Delight ice cream and I are best friends

If I had an unlimited budget, I’d shop at…

Too many stores, all I can say is there will be loads of lipsticks!

Dream destination:

Prague

The one thing required for success is…

Passion and a dash of sass

Got an event coming up? We say ditch the dress and sanction the skirt!

An enchanting bespoke skirt can be worn in so many different ways and is tailor-made to your specifications. With Aysha’s unique vision and flair for style, you will be blissfully swirling around in your Skirt Couturier original in no time.

To commission your order, email Aysha on ayshaminty@gmail.com

For more skirtspiration, check out her Instagram page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *