Founder & Creative Director of Juan Leo Lifestyle
Fashion & Lifestyle Editor
Who are your real life heroes?
I can’t name a single one and it isn’t because there aren’t any but a hero isn’t defined by one great movement in history or regular actions in the media or community work. People, every day people, making a difference are my daily inspiration. I believe we are all first our own heroes – writing our own stories, making life changing decisions with ripple effects. You’re a real life hero too you know.
What’s your most treasured item?
I think it changes as my wardrobe and mood evolves. Perhaps my most treasured item can’t be pinned down to an item because it’s not material anymore. The things I carry inside me – the ideas, the creativity to design and grow our brand, those are my treasured items. It’s only ever shared between two people probably until the time is right.
What’s the first thing you do when you come home after a day’s work?
Change into my pgs. straight away for sure! With my gown wrapped around me I hop onto my bed with a cup of tea, some biscuits or cake and laptop on for the next stage of hustling. There’s always some extended chit chat between my mom and I between all this. But the main thing is me coming home to work on my dream.
What inspires your style?
Lately, things I’ve found in my mom’s wardrobe actually. I’d like to think my style is more timeless than most and it’s always been that way. I’m often inspired by what my eye catches in a movie or the way a certain character is portrayed. The latest trends aren’t on my list of style inspiration unfortunately. Someone once told me my style is unorthodox and unpredictable – I don’t think any inspiration is needed for that. I usually lie in bed and pair outfits together – I try it all.
What is your recipe for happiness?
God. As it’s said – He’s the peace inside that can’t be explained, and the joy no one can take away. I’m not always the happiest chappy but when I’m soaring it’s only because of what He’s done, the open doors and that truly unexplainable feeling. I also do believe in following your heart, your passion and living out your purpose – that’s happiness.
If you could work with any brand, who would it be?
Everyone I’ve wanted to work with (and some I never imagined I would ever get to work with) I’ve got to work with – Forever New, Sissy Boy, James Bensen to name a few. But since we focus on local brands, I wouldn’t say there is one. But I know one when I see one – talent, hard work and a distinguished brand. When I see that, I go for it. I’d like to be able to showcase my own designs one day. We are a brand after all in our eyes – so that counts right?
How would your best friend describe you?
For starters – difficult. I won’t even deny that. I actually asked two of my best friends to comment honestly. They also work closely with me on campaigns so they know me better than most people. Stephenie: “Difficult. Big hearted and a usual bundle of joy. A girl that knows what she wants and never settles for anything less. Always gives without expecting and a true blessing. A go getter, an inspiration and a strong woman.” (Says a biased friend of 10 years) Jeane: “Talkative. Friendly. Caring, and probably annoying.”
What excites you most about being a young creative in South Africa right now?
The opportunities are endless if you decide to create it for yourself at times. You can become a lifestyle changer, a world changer and influence the world positively regardless of what is happening in the world or in your world. Your youth is the perfect platform to influence those that still need to walk the same path you have. Being a creative is often perceived to be a tough thing to be, and although it may be, it can also be what you decide to make of it.
What do you think your style says about you?
Sometimes nothing, sometimes everything. I want my style to speak boldly with a hint of simplicity to create the perfect complement of who I am – I speak my mind when I need to and stand up for what’s right but my life is pretty simple too – God, family, love and purpose. My style should leave an imprint and inspire the same way I wish to impact lives for years to come, through small gestures.
Name your top three designers (local and international)
Aidan J (how can you still ask) AFARA Custom by Rufaro (I can’t name a third) Both these brands not only fit my style and body perfectly, but the authenticity and quality that comes through with each piece is my definition of perfection. I literally love their fabrics, attention to detail and unique designs.