Local fashion’s top 5 to follow
A few days before lockdown our publisher attended African Fashion International’s Cape Town Fashion Week. Here, he picks 5 of SA’s leading local fashion lights from the show.
Whether you’re wanting to bring some sartorial swagger to Zoom or you’re planning on exploding out of lockdown in style, you can get all the local fashion inspo you’re searching for right here.
Africa has, for centuries, been a source of style inspiration for the rest of the world. Despite fashion giants stealing our style for years, the continent is now staking its claim as a major architect of fashion that stands autonomously on the global stage. Thanks to bodies such as African Fashion International (AFI) who are propelling design from the continent to the world, we’re seeing an explosion of local talent that fills us with pride.
To all of you unshakeable global-shopping fashionistas and Proudly South African naysayers: rest assured that local quality (and creativity) often outshines leading international brands these days. So, you have no excuse to, at the very least, mix it up (your wardrobe, that is).
From SA’s more recognisable ‘Maxhosas’ to the lesser knowns, who are still equally impactful, we highlight a few standouts from the show.
Living up to his title as South Africa’s most exciting fashion export (an imposed title courtesy of Lifestyling), Laduma Ngxokolo’s Maxhosa showcase was an eruption of knitted tribal pattern. Having taken on the likes of Zara for copyright infringement, we’re seated in the front row of Maxhosa’s meteoric rise. Proof of the latter is the opening of his second flagship boutique store in Africa at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront later this month, with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Gucci as neighbours. This latest collection, entitled SiziiKumnkani NeeKumnkanikazi / WE ARE KINGS AND QUEENS, speaks to Laduma’s aim to restore dignity to the African continent while modernising his Xhosa culture.
Michelle Ludek is celebrated for her fun and impulsive ready-to-wear women’s collections. For Cape Town Fashion Week, Michelle teamed up with her sister, jewellery and accessory designer Belinda Ludek, to create a collection that was both impactful and whimsical. Michelle’s own exuberance is revealed in her creations. Whilst much of this showcase teetered on the border of couture, it, and all of Michelle’s ready-to-wear collections, is available to purchase at her Cape Town and Joburg stores as well as online.
Maboneng based Sello Medupe’s ‘Scalo’ label stands for quality and style with a distinctive Africa-meets-the-world flavour. Established in 2009, the Sowetan born designer proved, yet again, that his passion for creativity is both modern and futuristic. His silhouettes at the show were characteristically fresh and his construction en-pointe, while the colour palette was a kaleidoscope of sunset hues that will no doubt be gracing every red carpet, as soon as we’re allowed to unroll them again.
As fans of local and ethical design (and of Durban too) we’re naturally fans of Leigh’s. Her creations are a bit of a contradiction: simple yet captivating, fresh yet timeless. Her new collection is routed in rich colour (think: muted yellows, greens and terracotta), pattern and Afro inspired shapes. There’s an obvious comfort to her designs, without them looking careless. Check out Leigh’s website for a list of national stockists, or buy online via Superbalist or via her online store.
A fashion brand for urban angels: Urban Zulu’s creations are heaven for lovers of bold African styles. This local fashion brand was founded by Papy Kaluw (whose personal style is right up there for us). This latest collection ticks various boxes when it comes to the demands of modern living – both functionally and for contemporary relevance. Like Maxhosa, Urban Zulu also gets Brownie points for designing for both men and women. Visit their online store or pop into The Space.