South African actress and model, Aretha Bauwens, has launched her eponymous collection of statement stilettos and wedges on

From her humble beginnings in Venda, in a village called Khubvi, Aretha’s inherent passion for success propelled her towards the City of Gold where she spent four years working for the SABC. It was here that she landed the role of Thivhulawi on Muvhango, where she was contracted for two years to the soap opera. Since then she has landed numerous TV commercials throughout Africa as well as setup a thriving hair extension business.

Fashion may have come later but as a little girl, Aretha was always reworking her clothes. “My mom would come home with a dress and I’d turn it into a top and a skirt”, she says. So in 2015 Aretha finally started working on her collection of high quality PU heels, sending off her eye-catching designs to a specialized factory in China. “I see them in my head, imagine myself wearing them and then I convey my vision to my team who produce them”, say Aretha about her shoes. She recognises that there are a lot of designers in South Africa but few focus on footwear. “I love challenges, and shoes are a challenge with all the sizes and cuts, so I thought to myself, Aretha, you can do this.”

Aretha finds the process therapeutic. “Every design I make expresses my mood at that particular time.” She designs her shoes for successful women who love to make a statement; “the kind of woman who commands respect without even saying a word when she walks past”, she explains. “She is stylish, a lady in every sense of the word who means business and oozes confidence.”

Her sophisticated shoes are designed to be worn through all the seasons. Inner soles have built-in cushioning for added comfort while outer soles are a signature AB orange, evocative of fashion giant Christian Louboutin. When asked what style every woman needs in her wardrobe, Aretha says the AB Speed of Light, “you can’t go wrong with black”. Prices range from R1290 to R1990 for this current collection. And this is not the extent of the Aretha Bauwens fashion brand – luxury bags and a full clothing range are to follow later this year.