Meet Image Consultant And Boutique Owner Elzaan Van Der Merwe

Elzaan van der Merwe is a successful designer, image consultant, businesswoman, motivational speaker and the owner of Mamilla Fashions in Irene Village Mall. With a knack for designs that make women feel beautifully comfortable – and celebrities like Afrikaans rock star Karen Zoid, actress Pulane Sekepe singing sensation Corlea Botha on her client list – she knows her styling stuff. We chatted with her about her personal journey and future plans for the Mamilla brand.

How do you go about an image consultation?

The Mamilla motto is “Every body is beautiful” and I truly believe this. I approach styling as a blank canvas. I am an artist and as I progress through the styling process, I imagine the creation of a beautiful painting, until it is a complete, refined masterpiece. My own struggle with weight loss allows me to genuinely identify with what it feels like to be thin and toned or sturdy and obese. I believe this journey equipped me to help each of my clients, petite to plus size, find a style that leaves them looking and feeling fabulous. Remember ladies, every day is a fashion show and the world is your runway.

Tell us about Mamilla Fashions – what style and vibe can customers expect?

Mamilla is a dynamic, feel-good clothing range that makes a statement. Mamilla caters for all sizes and ages, and is a mix and match range to provide customers with the best value. The choice of fabric for Mamilla items is my superpower. It took quite some time to find something that doesn’t wrinkle or sweat and still feels great on your body, but I eventually found the perfect fabric. As Karen Zoid put it: "A Mamilla outfit is so comfy I want to sleep in it!"

Where did your dream to create Mamilla Fashions come from?

In my early years of adulthood I gained 130kg because of a personal trauma. At a staggering 188kg, I eventually decided it was time to make a drastic change to better my future health and had gastric bypass surgery to get my severe obese condition under control.

One of my biggest struggles during this time was to find clothes that would fit, so I ended up having most of my clothing made. This was the start of my Mamilla Fashions adventure. I envisioned a boutique that could cater for every size, from XXS to XXXXXL, and for women who are tiny or tall, have big feet and even big hearts.

What other projects are you currently working on?

In collaboration with Corlea Botha, we have launched the Wie Is Jy project. I bring my weight loss testimony and makeover skills to the table and Corlea her beautiful singing voice. Together, we provide a wonderful package as guest speakers at women’s days, ladies' conferences and other female events.

What’s in store for you and Mamilla Fashions in the future?

I have been working on a Mamilla House concept for a while now. This would be something like a boutique, salon, spa and coffee lounge all under one roof, a one-stop shop that is a haven for any woman. You might even be able to have your car washed while you wait! If things fall in to place, Mamilla House will be a reality in the near future. Watch this space. 

Mamilla Fashions is located in Irene Village Mall or get in touch with Elzaan on 082 469 7948.

By Jana van der Linde