‘Legally Stylish’ Sonja shares love of fashion through online boutique
As a young girl growing up in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth, Sonja Tifloen matriculated and then did the “responsible thing”, completing her law degree at Nelson Mandela University and working her way up to becoming a director at BLC Attorneys.
But through it all she never losing her love for fashion and now Tifloen has added another accomplishment to her list of achievements — by creating a go-to platform where fellow fashionistas can shop for her look.
For years, Tifloen has turned heads not just through her legal prowess but for her distinctive fashion sense.
Tifloen said it all started with her love of stylish shoes, which prompted her to start a fashion blog and sell second-hand items, including some of her own items that she no longer wore.
The shoe-inspired blog later become an online boutique called Legally Stylish.
I have always loved dressing well and sometimes I would want to wear something particular, but could not find it anywhere. So I would come up with a design and get a seamstress to make it for me to wear
“I have always loved dressing well and sometimes I would want to wear something particular, but could not find it anywhere.
“So I would come up with a design and get a seamstress to make it for me to wear.
“At first I thought I would probably start my own shoe shop one day, and the name Legally Stylish was my way of mixing my legal career with my fashion sense,” Tifloen said.
She had started Legally Stylish for women of all ages, ranging from clothes to lounge around in to casual and smart wear, but added a surprise men’s range which was revealed at the launch of the brand in March.
“When I came out publicly about this new venture ahead of the launch, a lot of men inquired wanting to know if there’s anything for them.
“I decided to add a men’s range to surprise everyone at the launch and that range sold out immediately,” Tifloen said.
Her Legally Stylish team, from the seamstress to the web designers, were black women entrepreneurs from Port Elizabeth, she said.
“I am a proud Port Elizabeth girl at the core. You could probably pay me to leave this city and I wouldn’t.
Despite the country being on lockdown, I prioritise supporting local businesses and I buy about 90% of my fabric in Port Elizabeth. I’m proud to have hired the help of other local entrepreneurs is this project
“Despite the country being on lockdown, I prioritise supporting local businesses and I buy about 90% of my fabric in Port Elizabeth,” Tifloen said.
“I’m proud to have hired the help of other local entrepreneurs is this project,” she said.
Though she inherited her fashion sense from her mother and sister while growing up, the business of fashion had taught Tifloen gems she would have missed had she not pursued this venture, she said.
The fashion business was not as easy or glamorous as it looked, she said.
“One of the things I’ve had to learn quickly is that just because I personally like something it does not mean everyone else will.
“When I had just started, I would design something and just because I liked it I’d assume it would be a best-seller, and buy rolls and rolls of fabric, only to be disappointed when people didn’t buy it,” she said.
Tifloen said it had been a learning curve and she had since made it a habit to consult with various people about her new designs.
On the upside, the fashionista was able to use some leftover fabric to create fashionable masks for children and adults.
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