Having grown up in one of Cape Town’s biggest and oldest townships, Primrose Skolo is a true dynamite. She became a mother at the tender age of 17. From there, she knew she had to make some lifestyle changes. Today, she is co-owner to a company that continues to grow. She grew up in difficult circumstances, but has not allowed these circumstances to define her.
BD: Please tell us about your upbringing
PS: I was born on the 21st of August 1990 in Cape Town Somerset Hospital. I grew up in Langa, where my mom had a shack in Zone 16. We later moved into another one in Zone 12. In 2001 my mother got a house. I was raised by a single parent and later my stepdad joined us. We were not rich, and at times, the situation got very bad at home, however, I have no regrets. I am a self-taught fashion stylist and an events coordinator.
BD: What kind of a family and neighborhood did you grow up in?
PS: My mom was very strict, but she changed when I had my son. I have a very small family and my mom is the oldest in hers and the only woman. I have an older brother which I grew up with. I would say I was not an easy child, especially during my teen years. As a result, I had a child very early in life, at the tender age of 17. It was then that I realised I needed to make changes in my life as I had a baby to take care of.
PS: Growing up in a township has taught me to be street smart and to believe in my dreams. Langa Township has taught me to believe in myself because truly, there aren’t many role models to look up to. Recently, I have learnt that I am not my circumstances or surroundings, but to rather use those circumstances and surrounding as motivation.
BD: How did the interest in fashion start?
PS: Growing up, I was sure I would become a musician or dancer. However, life had other plans for me; Fashion! Frankly, fashion has not always been “my thing”, the interest began when I found myself working in retail. With time, I worked in the film industry as a trainee in the costume department, this is where the love and desire for fashion grew.
BD: At what point did you know you could earn a living with doing what you love?
PS: I always knew because I had always been exposed to fashion. I however, just didn’t know how to go about it until I put myself out there as a brand.
BD: What did your parents say when you told them what you wanted to be?
PS: My mom didn’t really understand what it is exactly that I do until she attended one of my shows in 2016. That is when she got the sense of my company and what I do. She has since been one of my biggest supporters.
BD: What is the fashion industry like in Cape Town?
PS: It is slow but growing. Cape Town itself is a slow city with a lot of underground raw talent. I feel maybe creatives do not know how to execute or they fear failure. There is also the issue of resources. Sometimes, the issue is one does not know how to access these resources, and in some cases, one does not know there are such resources to start with. Put all these issues aside, there is a lot of talent in Cape Town waiting to be groomed and discovered.
BD: Please tell us about Xperience Fashion Lifestyle
PS: The Xperience Fashion Lifestyle was born when I saw the need to exhibit young fashion designers in and around my community with the aim of also giving them the opportunity to learn about the business side of the industry, while simultaneously meeting fellow young designers and learning from each other. With the hopes of ultimately inspiring them to take that first step to starting their own business.
BD: What are some challenges you have encountered with the establishment of XFL?
PS: Funding is always one of the major issues when one starts their own company. Another issue I faced was selling my dream and vision. You don’t realise how hard it is for people to believe in you, until you venture into a business. A lot of designers I have showcased also communicated having had issues with sponsorship and funding.
BD: What has been your greatest achievement?
PS: It has to be having successfully showcased my first XFL series at VW Claremont. The show hosted 120 people; where five designers showcased at this show that evening. The XFL series keeps growing and our recent success was when I hosted a sold out XFL show on the 26th of May 2018 at Fire and Ice. The brand currently has over 30 designers in their database and hopes to grow further.
BD: What are your future plans for XFL?
PS: As I am passionate about creating opportunities for upcoming fashion designers, I am working on opening a learning space where designers will be assisted in opening their own workshops where they can showcase more of their beautiful work and excel as entrepreneurs.
BD: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and fashion designers?
PS: The only way to achieve your dreams is to work hard at ensuring they become a reality. The world does not owe you a thing, you have to teach yourself to grab opportunities. When there are none to grab, teach yourself to create them.