Holey Luxury


Ladysmith born seamstress, Patricia Bamusi, has been sewing buttonholes by hand since 1994 for local luxe brands such as David Tlale, Ephymol and Thula Sindi.

In a fast paced fashion world yearning for a little slow down, she’s right at the forefront of the future of fashion.

Discovering early on in her career that she had an interest in sewing, it was her first factory job that helped her harness her incredible capabilities. “I noticed that I was always the first to finished with whatever work we were given. At that time it was only hand work. That’s when I knew how good I was,” she recalls.

Her abilities don’t just stop there. Bamusi is an expert embroiderer and crochet master too. Her skillfulness encompasses what the eco-slow fashion movement is all about.

Designer Gabriella Hearst says, “When people think of sustainability, many still think granola and tree-hugging… If you know that something is made with the utmost integrity, it’s more valuable and therefore less likely to be viewed as disposable.”

This type of integrity is threaded in every garment Bamusi works on.

Bamusi’s work equally parallels a sentiment echoed by local design legend, Marianne Fassler. “We make luxury clothes that are sustainable at their core; they’re made to be passed down from generation to generation.”

Although the demand to learn the skill is not as high as she wishes, Bamusi teaches those interested in soaking up all she has to impart. Apart from her daughter, she has taught 10 other students through a month long course to expertly create handmade buttonholes. “I get so happy when I see the work I create and when younger people want to learn. Once complete, it can even look better than the machine made holes.”

Marrying the highest quality handwork work with time makes more than just a garment. It becomes a recorded history of the hours of work, detailing the intricacies of craftsmanship and the transfer of human touch, much like Bamusi’s work. And at the heart of her craft is the kind of defining luxury that sets brands apart.

By Sithasolwazi Kentane

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