Celeste Arendse of SELFI On The Sustainability of Fashion and Entrepreneurship

With the ongoing conversation to combat the environmental impact of fast fashion and sustainability (or the lack thereof), Celeste Arendse, CEO and Founder of Cape Town-based designer brand, SELFI, is the answer to those pending questions. Arendse completed a BTECH in Fashion and Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). In 2009 she established SELFI, whose name is derivative from self-care, self-empowerment, and self-betterment. It is a ready-to-wear, ethical, and most importantly, sustainable fashion brand.

In 2017 she opened her first flagship store in the heart of Cape Town and continues to reap the fruits of her hard work and determination. She has showcased at Joburg Fashion Week, South African Fashion Week, Design Indaba, and has international shows under her belt such as the Pure London Expo, Show & Order Expo. A definite force to be reckoned with, Celeste was appointed as the studio manager at luxury fashion label, Malcolm Kluk and CDGT, she has also won the Connect ZA Entrepreneur award presented by the British Council and created an international showroom called Merge ZA with her business partner Lilian Shulze, where they flew five local designers to London during the London fashion show. We chat to her to find out more about her expectations as a mentor.

Why did you agree to be a mentor in this programme / why do you think the Artist Alliance initiative is important?

I think it’s important to develop the young creatives within South Africa. I accepted to be a part of the artist alliance cause I think it’s important that we as entrepreneurs help nurture young talent and guide them to be the best they can be.

What are you looking for when it comes to the applications and mentees / what would make applications stand out to you?

I will be looking for dedication and someone with an understating of their craft and how they see themselves adding value in their environment locally and internationally.

Do you have any advice for those wanting to apply?

Trust and believe in yourself! This platform will help define who they are as creatives and will hopefully strengthen their talent. 

Are there any specific areas of your craft you want to share knowledge on? Or will it be dependent on who the mentees are? 

With running a fashion brand you have to be skilled in so many different areas, I would want to give them insight on how to master each area, from branding, designing to managing production.

What are your hopes for the outcome of this programme? 

That the mentees are able to have tools that will give them a better idea on how to turn their talents into a career. That they will have the creative confidence and a clearer vision of where they see themselves in the creative industry!

Apply Now

If you would like the opportunity to be mentored by one of these incredible industry leaders, you can apply to be part of the cohort until the end of July 2021.  

To apply or to find out more about the judging and applications criteria, follow this link. In addition to completing an application form, you’ll be required to submit a portfolio of 5 pieces of your best work; a motivational letter or video, telling us why you are the right candidate for the programme as well as an artist’s biography, which sheds some light on your journey and future plans. 

Successful candidates will be selected in early August and will begin the two-month long incubation and mentorship in September. The programme will run until the end of October 2021.

All applications will be assessed by a curatorial panel of experts. Submissions are open from 2 July to 31 July. 

Apply Now.


Between 10 and 5