On Wednesday the 16th of September 2020, global luxury brand MaXhosa AFRICA, created by Laduma Ngxokolo, presented their Spring/Summer 2021 Collection called “INGUMANGALISO IMISEBENZI KA THIXO” or “God’s Work is Miraculous”, during New York Fashion Week.
Laduma 2021 collection is one of Africa’s finest, and most intriguing designers he didn’t disappoint on the virtual stage! He presented what we would call his best work, thus far. MaXhosa’s aim is to become Africa’s leading luxury lifestyle brand presented a collection of eclectic prints and patterns that utilise African traditions to swift through its pieces. The collection is titled after a song composed and titled by Laduma’s late paternal grandfather, Mike Ngxokolo, who was a renowned jazz artist, choral music composer, visual artist, actor, and radio presenter.
MaXhosa Africa is a South African knitwear brand founded in 2012. This was with the desire to explore knitwear design solutions that would be suitable for amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). His initial vision was to create a modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection that would be suitable for this market. As a person who has undergone the process, Laduma felt that he had to develop premium knitwear that celebrates traditional Xhosa aesthetics.
Laduma encourages people to be at their happiest during this time. “During the lockdown, in the midst of sadness, I thought it was very important to give people hope with my craft. I wanted to showcase happiness so that people would feel very excited about next summer,” says Laduma.
Expressing that happiness is the luxury and hopeful that this collection will encourage everyone to be mindful of our blessings despite the odds that we have faced in 2020. “God’s work is so wonderful that we don’t even acknowledge how powerful it is,” he says.
When Laduma Ngxokolo’s mother Lindelwa taught him to knit, she sparked a love of fashion that inspired him to become a designer. Today her son’s collections are showcased on the catwalks of Europe’s fashion capitals.
MORE ABOUT LADUMA NGXOKOLO
How it all started
As a person who has undergone the ritual, he felt that he needed to develop a premium knitwear range that celebrates traditional Xhosa beadwork aesthetics, using South African mohair and wool. Since then, Laduma has received numerous achievements and captures the hearts of many fashion lovers and media from South Africa, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo, Berlin, and New York.
When he was in Grade 8, Lindelwa sat Ngxokolo down and taught him how to use the family knitting machine. Knitting became his hobby and changed his life. He went on to study textile design and technology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth.
“I was influenced greatly by my mother as I grew up doing craftwork and beadwork with her,” he told digital publishing company Between 10 and 5 in an interview. “I believe that that was the beginning of my design experience.”
His 2010 thesis project revolved around innovation. Inspired by traditional Xhosa patterns he designed a range for initiates to wear. This project was the first stitch in his knitwear company – MaXhosa by Laduma – and also his winning submission to an international design competition sponsored by the Society of Dyers and Colourists.
“This gave me the opportunity to speak about my project at Design Indaba 2011, which led to a lot of positive press coverage. It ultimately helped me establish my knitting brand in February 2011.”
His own Xhosa initiation, in 2011, confirmed to Laduma that there is a market for his brand. “I felt that the outfits for the initiation ritual were too westernised. Xhosa initiation is a traditional ritual and even though we are all living in a modern time, I felt that there should still be an element that resembles the Xhosa culture.”
Laduma’s creations are inspired by his Xhosa background and the local mohair industry. Visits to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum helped him discover the richness and creativity of Xhosa cultural beadwork. Incorporating those designs into his own work has helped him celebrate and preserve his own cultural identity.
“I also decided to use mohair from my hometown and discovered that Port Elizabeth has the biggest mohair industry in the world, and has the biggest wool industry in Africa. So, I decided to take advantage of the local material, which is usually exported.”
Laduma was fortunate in his choice of university. He arrived in the year the institution set up an Art and Design Incubator. NMMU provided him with seed capital to start MaXhosa, but his ongoing success is also a result of his talent and hard work.
His sister Tina, also a designer, has become one of Laduma’s collaborators at MaXhosa. According to the MaXhosa blog, he has also worked with several Norwegian entrepreneurs, and given the chance to showcase their joint creations in Norway.
In 2014 he won a WeTransfer-sponsored two-year scholarship to study for a Masters in Material Futures at London’s prestigious Central St Martins of the University of the Arts.
That same year he received a standing ovation for his Buyel’mbo women’s range at Johannesburg Fashion Week. He described this local appreciation as overwhelming, even more than being identified as 2015’s Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa prize winner.
According to the international news broadcasting agency BBC, most of his sales are from Merchants on Long in Cape Town.
Amos is a high-end designer label established in Cape Town, South Africa. They specialize in uniquely crafted Prêt-a-Porter garments, bespoke couture as well as bridal garments. Amos embodies superior craftsmanship and fashion-forward designs – always pushing boundaries.
Amos is a fast-growing fashion brand with a unique sense of design and a passion for beauty and elegance. All garments are exclusively styled. Evening and bridal wear are made to order only. Haute Couture is a special form of art and design and needs to be approached with great care and dedication, therefore, Amos ensures that the client’s couture gown becomes a precious item for their special day or their wardrobe.
Hugo Amos is the designer and creative force behind the Amos brand. His passion is making women feel glamorous and elegant from the boardroom to the ballroom. Great care and effort go into each and every one of his creations, from sourcing the perfect fabric, all the way to the crafting, packaging, and delivery of the special item.
Amos longs to empower their clients with a sense of grace and sophistication. They produce seasonal collections, drawing inspiration from various sources, always anticipating their clients’ style.
Their main focus each season is to enhance the individual beauty and style of all types of women yet giving them the freedom to make an Amos piece their own.
In spite of the lockdown regulations which restrict public events and activities, the virtual Vodacom Durban July was a great success with fashion at the forefront as usual. Under the theme ‘Butterflies’, the designers showcased their best creations with the bedazzled face masks to match the theme.
The event took place at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday the 25th of July 2020 as a broadcast-only event behind closed doors. Keeping the fashion alive and showcasing at the event were designers such as Nguni Shades and Quiteria Atelier, to name a few. This year’s partnership with the Durban Fashion Fair saw the fashion element of the event taken care of by showcasing designers from the province.
According to organisers, this year’s Durban July will be virtual. The event will take place at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday the 25th of July 2020 as a broadcast-only event behind closed door.
Keeping the fashion alive and showcasing at the event will be designers such as Nguni Shades and Quiteria Atelier. Here’s a preview of what they will be showing.
The event’s fashion coordinator, Tiffany Prior says that fashion will still be a focal point of the Durban July, but the format will change to comply with the ‘behind closed doors’ requirements of the event. “The Butterflies theme is amazing as it touches on metamorphosis and change which is top of mind at the moment,” she says.
We are in awe of Rich Mnisi’s luxurious Azania Loungewear range. He recently revealed the winter collection which includes polo necks, branded tracksuits, and scarves. The collection left many envious!
A Rich Mnisi polo neck and skirt from the retails for R2,000 and R1,300. His Azania bags range from R13,000 to R32,000. Rich Mnisi has dressed several famous faces including international superstar Beyoncé.
RICH MNISI is a South African based contemporary multi-disciplinary brand founded in 2015 by Africa Fashion International Young Designer of the Year 2014, Rich Mnisi. With a global view the brand is young at heart and explores the treasures engraved within Africa and the world of modern culture and heritage to tell the unique stories of then, now and soon. All this packaged in extremist yet minimalist structures which take design and craftsmanship as the first and foremost motivation.
The brand is carved to maintain a contemporary outlook and stand firm in an aesthetic that brings worlds of artistic imagination together. RICH MNISI breeds new layers and visions inspired by sources outside of the realm of fashion, including film, music, art and nature, being immersed but measured, picking up only the fitting notes to gather as foundation.
RICH MNISI has grabbed the attention of both local and international media, appearing in the editorial pages of Marie Claire, ELLE, Financial Times, Vogue China, Vogue Russia, Bella Nigeria, Business Class, GQ, Chasseur, Dazed and Confused, Mail and Guardian, House and Leisure, Fashion Glossary UK, Fucking Young, True Africa, Dossier, i-D Vice, GQ Style, Hunger, Vogue Italia, High Snobiety, L’official Manila, Sicky, WGSN, BBC, WWD, Sunday Times and more.
Diane Nkoa (20) is a Cameroonian fashion designer based in Tunisia who is advancing the approach of women and menswear. Her designs challenge the often-narrow rules that accompany Tunisia’s fashion by creating evolving, provocative, implicit yet comfortable clothing. Diane’s design aesthetic has an emphasis on superior construction, movement, textures, strong silhouettes, and innovative technics.
Whether you love discovering new clothing lines, wearing ‘It’ pieces before the masses, or shopping brands that others are less familiar with, emerging designers such as Diane are well worth your attention.
In December 2019, she officially launched ADN by Diane to exhibit her work as a fashion designer. “I wanted to finally showcase my work after being scared for a while to publicly put the title of ‘fashion designer’ next to my name. I am glad that I actually did it! Now, my brand is really doing well, more than I expected.
Currently, young people are drawn toward the fashion industry for the way of life it represents. For Diane, the fashion bug bit her quite early! “I started designing clothes when I was 13 years of age. After High School, I received a scholarship to study fashion designing at ESMOD Tunisia, where I’m currently still studying. They offer topflight programs in design and business to cover the full range of the fashion industry’s demands,” she says.
She describes her design aesthetic as; “Sometimes I’ll describe it as minimalist and sometimes extravagant; I cannot quite put my finger on it! So, I just do whatever comes to mind. I just love expressing my creativity. The inspiration behind my designs is everything around me. I could be staring at a tree and find inspiration,” she says.
According to Invest in Tunisia – The Textile & Apparel Sector in Tunisia is positioned as a cornerstone of the Tunisian industry and keeps a prominent place in the national economy while maintaining a strong contribution to the socio-economic balance of Tunisia
“The fashion industry in Tunisia is really thriving! Some European brands make their clothes in Tunisia and I really like how fashion designers incorporate the Tunisian culture into their designs. However, I do not align my brand with the fashion trends in my country because I want to create new trends. Some Tunisian designers focus their work on wax, which is good but not innovative for the current fashion era,” she says.
Diane looks up to fashion designers such as Anissa Meddeb, who is originally from Tunisia, born and raised between Tunis and Paris. In 2016, Anissa launched her label Anissa Aida – The brand is a mix and match of inspirations from Tunisia and Japan, both cultures rich in heritage and traditional craftsmanship. I love how minimalist her style is. Internationally, I am inspired by Iris Van Herpen because her clothes and fabric are daring and thoughtful. She is a Dutch fashion designer known for fusing technology with traditional Haute Couture craftsmanship. She opened her own label Iris van Herpen in 2007,” she says.
We asked her to describe the inspiration behind two of her designs and this is what she had to say:
“For this design, I drew inspiration from Laetitia Ky, an artist based in the Ivory Coast, who makes unbelievably inventive sculptures with her hair. She just needs some wire, thread, and her own hair. I wanted to make a dress using wire, but the final dress was not what I drew at first. The first design was straight and not circular. Because the wire came tied circular, I just decided to use it as it was, instead of straightening it. For the lingerie underneath, we had just learned to do it at school and I just wanted to practice,” she says.
This design was inspired by my absolute love for lingerie! That’s why I chose to study it this year. I think that lingerie is too beautiful to just be worn as an undergarment. The garter belt is the perfect accessory to make clothing look sexy. I made a corset, and a pair of shorts that can be lengthened if wanted and added a shirt to make it classier.
Diane’s plans to grow her brand include collaborating with industry role players.
“I plan to do fashion shows; collaborate with other brands and concentrate on identifying innovative fabrics for my brand. Ideally, I would like to build an established brand that would one day become a form of reference for innovative and eco-friendly fabrics. My wish is to see icons wearing my brand and for ADN to be a style movement that showcases Tunisia’s talents,” she concludes.