The fact that someone can pair a blazer with matching pants does not make the person a stylist, even if their Instagram bio says so. True or false? One person who knows all about fashion and style is South African fashion stylist Lethabo Maboi aka Boogy.
Styled by Boogy (her company) first started in 2007, her first client was S.A rapper; Khuli Chana and a UK street wear label called Box Fresh. Since then, she has gone on into styling the likes of Sarkodie, Tiwa Savge, Aka, Don Jazzy and more.
—Aside from being in the fashion business, you are also an OAP how easy/difficult is it to juggle both careers?
I have been a radio host, tv presenter and producer for the past 5 years and that has merged seamlessly with my styling career.I have been working as a TV presenter since I was 8years on Mnets KTV which taught me to juggle multiple disciplines at the same time from an early age.
– -That’s interesting to know, describe a typical day in the life of Lethabo Maboi?
A typical day in my life always starts with a prayer. Being thankful keeps me grounded so I thank my maker and the universe for allowing me to be one with it. After that its meetings and constant hunting for fabrics, new designers and trends. When I’m not putting in 14-18 hr sessions on music video,film and TV sets I’m face first into my phone and laptop checking out global trends.
— Have you ever had a client that was just a ‘diva’ ie. Hated all your outfit choices and was just not cooperative
I believe in making people feel and look like better versions of themselves so before taking on any project I have to sit down with the artist/client to get a better understanding of how they want to be perceived to avoid diva antics on set. I have a very thorough pre production process. But in this business you are always dealing with diva behaviour.I have just found a way to tame it.
— You have styled many celebrities who has been the most memorable?
Working with the Nigerian super crew: The Mavins for the Dorobucci music video was definitely a career highlight. The crew consists of the continents most successful artists including Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage,D’Prince ,Dr Sid, Korede Bello, Dija and Reekado Banks. This video certified my place as the go to African stylist for artists shooting videos in South Africa. Also working with Obidi Pon Bidi Sarkodie to date I have styled 3 of his videos if anyone in this works inspires me to do more its Sark.
Lethabo and Sarkodie
– Loved how you referred to Sarkodie as Obidi Pon Bidi. Anyway, which celebrity would you kill to style?
All the ones I haven’t already worked with. But styling someone like Kanye who is known for styling himself would be a career changing moment .
–Who are some of your style inspirations and what made you decide to become a stylist?
My style icons include Erykah Badu,Gwen Stefani, Ambush designer Yoon, My Mom and the House of Ralph Lauren.I have always loved fashion and dressing up in a way that was more of a extention of personality rather than trends so it was second nature to help people put themselves together. When I started my career I was dating a local musician and after the success of his first video that I styled the requests just kept coming and in 2008 #Styledbyboogy was born.
— Most of the time celebrities credit designers rather than stylist on the red carpet, do you feel stylist don’t get the credit they deserve?
All the time especially at video music awards. I feel that the people who bring the artist stories to life namely production companies ,directors and yes stylists rarely get their credits .
–Tell us about your new pop up store and what are some of the statement pieces one can find there?
I have a new project called Style Lab that runs as a pop up store all over the country during big social events and awards where my personal clients are given an opportunity to shop amazing local and street wear brands such as Nike in the private setting of a hotel. See #stylelab on my Instagram.
— As a successful fashion stylist what would be your top tips for an upcoming stylist?
Create your own lane there’s no manual to this career path on our continent yet.
Form relationships with local designers they will always vs the something new you require .
Ask for help,this job may seem glamorous but its not.Its very labour intensive and requires lots of stamina.
–South Africa has a very vibrant fashion industry, in your opinion what do think the Ghanaian fashion gurus can do differently to become as successful.
I actually think Ghana has a more developed industry than us and is doing very well.My advice would be to keep keeping on and to create national pride in your fabrics and industry to keep it vibrant.
From a stylist point of view, what would you say are the top trends of the season?
We have just entered what looks like is about to be the hottest African summer ever so I think the trend will be in fabrics as opposed to styles of garments.I think the mesh trend will continue and we will be seeing lots of chiffons and cut out trends. The Bohemian trend will continue to own the Sumner.
— What trends do you feel need to go?
Cultural appropriation by all these international fashion houses who steal pieces of our culture for fashion. Its a trend and it needs to stop.
Finally, what should we expect from Lethabo ‘Boogy’ Maboi in the near future?
An online store,an international fashion collaboration and more kick ass videos. I’m obsessed with shoes so maybe a shoe line.
Boogy’s notable works include:
Ice Prince ft Don Jazzy & AKA “Nword remix” 2014
Victoria Kimani “Show” 2014
Melany Mackay “Kitchen” 2014
AKA (2015 SAMA , 2015 BET awards)
A huge thank you to Lethabo ‘Boogy’ Maboi for being a great sport. God bless.