Abigail Keats

Owner, House of Abigail Keats

It was difficult for Abigail Keats's father to accept that she didn't want to go to university. But dreaming big is what she does best. So, after qualifying at the local London International School of Fashion Design, she went on to set up her own fashion company, the House of Abigail Keats. And having been given the opportunity to show some of her designs at the Audi Fashion week two years ago, Keats received immediate recognition: she was named "Designer of the Month� by Elle and "Designer to Watch� by Cosmopolitan. Since then she has exhibited in each seasonal fashion week and has been invited to show her collections in New York, Miami and Dubai. "The vision and long-term goal is to establish an internationally acclaimed label andsuccessful business that is proudly South African,� says Keats. And she is well on her way towards doing so. In May, the House of Abigail Keats will launch a high-end fashion boutique in Sandton. The "design philosophy will move with the times, but it is essentially based on an exclusive contemporary fashion label that caters to women who look to infuse style, glamour and sophistication into their wardrobes and lifestyle,� says Keats of her label. "It embodies bespoke fashion and draws inspiration from both the contemporary and the classical.� An artist at heart, the 23-year-old, who is constantly encountering things "that are not in the textbook�, sees her biggest challenges as "bridging the gap between fashion design and the business world� and "learning through experience�. � Lisa Steyn

Lunch spot: Tasha's Cafe, Atholl Square, Sandton