Friday, April 23, 2010

MiLi Jo profile.

My name is Michel Lisa Johannessen. I am a 21 year old coloured young lady from Bellville. I currently stay with my parents; my father (Edwin) is a Minister, my mother (Estelle) a counselor, along with my brothers, Michael (the marketer) and Matthew (our soccer star). This Johannessen family is closely knit. I’ve basically known all my life that fashion is what I was destined to do, my reason, and my purpose. I recall from a young age, with my grandmother being a Dressmaker and my cousins and myself spending a lot of time there, I’d re-design garments, making something pretty from “scrap lappies”, when my cousins would just be wrapping the fabrics around them! My determination to create something different was so strong; at the young age of 8 not knowing how to sew I’d hand sew whole garments together! While other young girls were outside playing hopscotch I was sewing garments by hand, painting and sketching, a love that now has grown into a passion for both Fashion and Art. I think along with fashion comes a whole desire for glamour, even though later down the line you get hit with the reality that’s its all hard work and a few minutes of glamour out on the runway. Yet this young lady took to the ramp entering modeling competitions, and doing quite well while she was at it. I then won a show and landed a contract with Paddingtons modeling agency and I think this is where my story began to get a bit more interesting. I then entered the film industry, doing photo shoots, both locally and internationally, which also grew my passion for acting. I later then joined an acting agency called Artist One and took part in a few movies including a BBC production called Krakatoa, as well as advertisements. With all of this happening I had the opportunity of being featured on Woolworths summer campaign posters, along side DJ Switch (Morgan van Staden), I was featured as a South African actress and fashion design student. I guess Woolworths saw into the future, or maybe just the passion that lived within me. These opportunities did not end for me! I however do believe that this has been made all possible simply because God had and still has greater plans for me. At the age of 14 after completing grade 9, I left J.G Meiring High School to attend Northlink College to complete my NIC and NSC in Clothing Production. Through hard work and dedication I finished with 4 distinctions and was one of the top students. At the age of 16 I started at C.P.U.T Cape Town campus and completed my ND in Fashion Design. Once again, through hard work, finishing as one of the top ten students. During my studies at C.P.U.T I had the honour of being selected to display a few of my designs at the Design Indaba 2008, along with the other students who displayed their creativity we won best overall stand award. My designs were displayed at a fashion exhibition as well. Just after I completed my studies I was then selected to be apart of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival 2009. When done studying I worked from home for 3 months, doing freelance pattern making and designing for a company called Baby Bean. I later started at Impahla Clothing as a Planning and Development Co-ordinator, a company who manufactures all of Puma’s stock. For 10 months I did the pattern designing, saw to it that samples were correctly made up and delivered on time as well as confirmed orders from Puma. With my passion and dream, growing more and more each day I then resigned from Impahla and took the bold step of starting my own line, MiLi Jo. MiLi Jo originates from the first two letters of each of my names. In my last month of working for Impahla I was given the opportunity to pre –launch MiLi Jo at F.T.V Cape Town. With the fashion show being a success it gave me the affirmation that my own line is what I was born to do. With Mili Jo all I really want to do is give a niche market, that market that is not being fed enough, the market of individuals a wardrobe. So often we follow the mass market, forgetting style is about you, it’s what you feel, and it’s your expression! Comfort is of high importance to me, my target market starts from as young as 13- 35. I want to reach the youth; I believe that through my fashion I can make a difference. Many times I use scripture reference on t-shirt prints, or simple words to get young people thinking about there lifestyles. I want to give fashion, but I want to give a message too while I’m at it! MiLi Jo does not only do fashion but I own a love for Painting too, I paint on canvas in my free time, another dream is to have an art exhibition at the end of the year. I love writing too, who knows MiLi Jo fashion editor? I strongly believe this is what Christ wants me to do. Over and over again things fall into place for me. In the June issue of Elle magazine 3 of MiLi Jo garments will be in their shoots. I applied to be on there briefing list, sent things in for the first time, and 3 of my things were selected. It’s these little beginnings that will lead to huge endings… I know for a fact, that I will be a success one day, reaching many young people! I would love to even go International in time, but for now, I want to focus on my country, South Africa!


  1. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

    Congrats... may you soar!

    Peace Love Respect

  2. You are super talented Miss Child of the most high!! You are certainly going places and with Big G on your side, who can be against you? I believe in your work and believe that you are going to be so much bigger than you think! Love you lady!!! God Bless. See you soon! MWA MWA MWA