Grounded flight attendants’ fashion label set for take-off

Raeesah Albertus and Immanuel Makuse.

Two flight attendants, grounded by Covid-19, have used their time in lockdown limbo to give lift to a clothing label they started last year.

They have now opened up for business at a V&A Waterfront market.

Immanuel Makuse, 32, of Ottery, and Raeesah Albertus, 25, of Retreat, started the Off Duty clothing brand in December 2019, yet during lockdown their business took flight and they are now selling their designs online, at pop-up stores and at the Arena Rooftop market on top of the Clock Tower at the Waterfront.

Mr Makuse said: “Both myself and Raeesah are flight attendants at ComAir, and we have not worked since the end of March, yet we have been working on the Off Duty clothing brand since late last year. When we were unable to go into work, we decided that now was the time to focus on the brand and we are pleased that it has been a great success and now with the market, we are very excited for what the future holds.”

This past weekend marked the first time that Off Duty was on sale at the market, an opportunity that the couple got after hosting a pop-up store in Kensington on Saturday October 3.

Mr Makuse said: “We made use of our Instagram account to launch the brand, and through there we received a lot of love from people we know and also other small businesses such as hair salons and food vendors. So when we hosted the pop-up store, we invited a lot of those businesses along to not only stand with us but to also give them some exposure.

“We were then approached by Kaashief Davids, who is the event coordinator for the market, and he invited us to open a stall there.”

Mr Davids said he had heard about the brand through social media and its customers. He said that after meeting the couple, he had decided the market would be a good fit for them.

Ms Albertus said both she and Mr Makuse kept a keen eye on the manufacturing process.

“We want to create fashion that people can feel comfortable in but still wear when they go out for the night. The name Off Duty comes from the fact that we want clothes for people to wear something comfortable when they are done with work. We personally design and purchase the materials for the clothes and then we regularly check up on the seamstresses to ensure that the quality meets our standards.”

Off Duty’s clothes include hoodies, tracksuits, sweaters, hats, kimonos and dresses.