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No better time for fashion entrepreneur

Juggling many roles to pave her way to the success she envisages for her life has become part of businesswoman Palesa Matjekane’s entrepreneurial journey.

Not only is she group CEO for Formation Group Media, a company that she founded, founder of Women in Formation Foundation, but she is also a semi-finalist in the 2022 Mrs SA and is now official a fashion label owner.

Yet it is the fashion label that the entrepreneur is beaming about as this launch signals a life-long aspiration for her.

The business of fashion

The launch of her label, Maison Lisa, has been long coming as fashion runs in her family.

Palesa fashion aspirations were inspired by her grandmother, who in her formative years was a budding designer herself. The old lady had to abandon her dreams to start and raise a family.

She says women tend to shelve their dreams to put others first and she wanted to pay homage to her granny.

“As women we tend to do that forget our dreams, so this brand is purely to reignite my grandmother’s dreams after she also gave up her life to raise me as well”.

Palesa says as much as Maison Lisa is her dream, it also serves to rekindle her grandmother’s dream – who she says is the one with the “fashion gene”.

Maison Lisa is rightly a derivative of her mother Elisa and grandmother Elizabeth’s names.

Visiting three of the world’s four fashion capitals also influenced Palesa’s path into the fashion industry.

“There are a few fashion capitals around the world, but four reign supreme to this day. Paris. Milan. London and New York. And having been to three of these has really inspired my eye for design,” says Palesa.

Denim as high-end couture

The big question is obviously what the inspiration behind the focus on denim, when it is so popular the world over. And how will she reinvent this daily fashion staple for denim lovers?

“I am fascinated with the history of denim”. I want to create story telling through my denim for women of all shapes sizes, short or tall local and international,” she says excitedly.

According to Palesa one can never own too much denim. She says denim is the kind of fabric that tells a story. Jeans, according to her, are the only thing someone can put on that is an instant statement of who you are.

“Denim fashion is mass media. But instead of watching, listening, or browsing you are wearing it. Everything you wear sends a message to the world about who you are and what you believe in”.

In addition to her marketing background, Palesa decided to get a fashion qualification four years ago, and says she is in awe of how everything is manifesting.

“I love how I can bring my marketing experience into my passion for fashion the synergy between the two is why I have created the brand to what it is today”.

Re-entering Mrs SA

In 2020 Palesa tried for the title of Mrs SA, one of the country’s fore most pageants for married women. She made it to Top 50. She is once again testing her luck. But this time it is less about luck and more about preparation.

She is going in guns blazing.

In this role she calls herself “the come-back queen”.

“I have taken this leap of faith once again to remind women or anyone else who I inspire to not allow failure define you,” she explains. She sees her first attempt in the pageant as an eye opener and intends using that wisdom to her advantage.

“We are all going to fail at something and the aim is to all yourself to cry but get up and keep going until you attain it. Remember your dreams and goal don’t have make sense to anyone but yourself stay true to yourself,” she says.


Palesa has done extremely well for herself in shaping her career. She has walked the SA fashion week ramp, represented South Africa at international stage and graced us with her beautiful presence as Mrs SA 2020.

She enrolled at modelling school when she was 6 years old, that is where she learned all her photographic modelling, Image building, on stage presenting, fashion shows just to name a few.

“I am so grateful to God my mother invested in me because I wouldn’t be where I am today without my confidence. I mean starting a clothing brand not tapping into a local market but international calling myself the Queen of Denim can only stem from confidence and support of family”, she says.

Future plans

I want to focus on my clients, the people that make the brand. “We currently busy with our winter range,” she says.

Sound advice

“Start. Don’t wait for the right moment, it never arrives.”



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Editor's note

American novelist Louisa May Alcott said it best when she said “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

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