For a long time, luminaries like Thula Sindi and David Tlale have been the names everyone associates with the South African fashion industry. The giants have helped to lay the foundation and now a young generation of fashion designers is taking the industry to new heights. These six homegrown fashion designers profiled here have been pushing creative boundaries and they have what it takes compete on the world stage.
1 Pilgrim Clothing ZA
Founder of Pilgrim Clothing ZA, Siviwe James says she is “a young creative, an idealist and a romantic. ” Her clothing is inspired by the stories of ordinary people in Johannesburg. Her clothing is authentic, comfortable and abstract with artisanal handcrafted finishes. Her clothing range focuses on menswear and has been featured in the 2014 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, the Kaplan exhibition (which is a creative initiative aimed at giving up-and-coming Africans a platform to develop and showcase their creative endeavours) and in the pages of Destiny Man and GQ.
2 Imprint ZA
Mzukisi Mbane is the founder of Imprint ZA (formerly known as Swagger Diariez) which has been in existence since 2011. The line showcases fashionable, fresh and unique designs with a bit of an edge. There is a vintage influence in his style coupled with a modern touch. In 2013, Elle Style Reporter finalist, Elelwani Netshifhire, collaborated with Mzukisi to share his story. Imprint ZA also featured in this year’s Design Indaba as well as the Kamers Autumn 2015 which is a pop-up event for handcrafted creativity. Imprint ZA will also make an appearance at the South African Menswear Week which was held recently.
3 Oath Studio
African Fashion International (AFI) 2014 Young Designer of the year, Richard Minsi established Oath Studio with Shane Childs. One of the aims of Oath Studio is to sidestep traditional fashion trends to bring in different innovative elements of design. According to their website, Oath Studio “takes on pop culture as its soul and inspiration hub to achieve a versatile and fashion forward DNA”. The brand was announced as one of the winners for Mercedes Benz Fashion week Johannesburg AFI fastrack in 2014. They now have an online store and showcased their new collection at the Design Indaba 2015. However, they could also be spotted at the SA Menswear week.
4 Tamara Cherie Dyson
2014 Rising Star Design Award winner, Tamara Cherie Dyson, got the opportunity to launch her own fashion label in collaboration with Mr Price. Her win sparked a collaboration with Stephanie Bentu, owner of Krafthaus, and the result is the stunning 2015 Multi-seasonal Luxury Womenswear Collection. The collection has a minimalistic approach influenced by some Bauhaus architectural design. Her designs have an international flair to them, with a hint of white and metallic leather as well as geometric shapes. Tamara’s collection shows her understanding of fashion aesthetics which has also won her the Durban July Designers Award in 2011.
5 Punk & Ivy
Husband and wife fashion design duo Khaya and Bianca Sibiya of PUNK & IVY launched their mobile boutique this year to sell their garments. This was inspired by the trailer culture in the United States. The duo wanted to provide an alternative for consumers by taking their clothing items to the people who consume it. PUNK & IVY plays with various fabrics and leathers to create timeless pieces by reinterpreting the African print into their own sports luxe and streetwear design. What gives the label a competitive edge is the androgynous twist to their design. The label recently collaborated with Legit to create a range called Don’t Conform which inspires people to step out of their comfort zone. PUNK & IVY has dressed the likes of Khuli Chana and have featured on Glamour, Elle as well as Mail and Guardian. Peep our coverage of P&I here.
Zahara, Foziah and Layla Cassim worked together to establish the fashion, art and lifestyle brand, Lazuli in 2011. Their aim is to create items that are unique so that they can promote individuality and exclusivity for their customers. Their clothing reflects a sophisticated and contemporary woman and the designers draw inspiration from the essence of being a woman in a diverse country like South Africa. Lazuli has also been featured in the Cosmopolitan for slaying in the fashion industry. Their modernised collections have seen the runway of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in 2013 and 2014. They also showcased some of their clothes at the Design Indaba in 2014 and this year.
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