An imperfect blessing by Nadia Davids

By Nadia Davids

"It is 1993. South Africa is on the point of overall transformation and in Walmer property, a hectic suburb at the slopes of Devil's top, fourteen-year-old Alia Dawood is ready to endure a change of her personal. She watches with fascination and worry because the nationwide drama unfolds, longing to be part of what she is familiar with to be heritage within the making. As her innovative aspirations improve within the months prior to the  Read more...

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My biggest chance for expansion came when I was approached by Murjani, the American company that produced Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. It was the first time a celebrity had endorsed a pair of jeans and it was a huge success in the States. Finally I was to be given a proper budget and was reluctantly persuaded by the men from the Murjani marketing company to use that year’s Miss World contestants as models for a fashion show. I had to pick my own winners, get them out of their old-fashioned stilettos, put their collars down and modernise them.

Meeting old schoolfriends years later I was told that I had always been the one to tell them what the latest music was, or the latest fashions. I suppose it was inevitable that I ended up trend forecasting and event organising as part of my PR career. In 1978 Paul and I opened Mrs Howie, the first fashion shop in the Covent Garden area. We found a large old banana warehouse and asked architect Ben Kelly to design it. It had a rubber floor, sail cloth on the walls and clothes rails made out of warehouse clamps.

To this day, I really don’t know why. It was about being the best PR in London. Somehow I trapped myself in this role. I knew my business was a success and I just couldn’t stop working. Perhaps I got it from my parents, who worked extremely hard and always made sure I earned my allowance money. Even when I was very young I was only given it if I’d done all the chores expected of me, like making my own bed or clearing away the dishes. It certainly instilled the work ethic in me. By the time I was twelve I’d graduated to working in my dad’s butcher shop.

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