South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo’s MaXhosa features at New York Fashion Week

African fashion for the win

By Tegan Mouton

South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo’s MaXhosa features at New York Fashion Week

MaXhosa New York Fashion Week

Designer Laduma Ngxokolo made local fashion fans proud yesterday when he showcased his brand MaXhosa Africa’s RTW Spring 2021 collection at New York Fashion Week.

The virtual show was broadcast live over YouTube as part of Fashion Week’s safety precautions amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop a host of local celebs from joining in for the impressive showcase.

Riky Rick, Maps Maponyane, Unathi Nkayi, Amanda Dambuza and Warren Masemola were some of the big names who took part in the event, which showcased the designer’s most colourful collection yet.

Titled “Ingumangaliso Imisebenzi Kathixo” (meaning “God’s Work Is Miraculous” and the name of a song his late grandfather wrote), the new collection features both men’s and women’s wear with an athleisure feel, while still staying true to the brand’s recognisable aesthetic of Xhosa-prints, patterns and beadwork.

Touching on the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic and his decision to go with cheerful, colourful designs for his new collection, Ngxokolo said: “happiness has become a luxury. It’s difficult to smile now, and people need visuals to remind them.”

MaXhosa (which is in its tenth year of business and has featured at NYFW before) has been receiving international attention for a while now. Ngxokolo’s designs have been praised by British Vogue, were featured in Beyoncé and stylist Zerina Akers’ “Black Parade” directory of Black-owned businesses, and have been worn by celebrities like NBA players Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade, and musicians Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats.

Business is clearly booming for the brand, which opened a second boutique in July in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, right next to luxury stores like Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Originally from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, Laduma founded MaXhosa in 2010 as his thesis project while studying at the Nelson Mandela University, with the aim of recreating clothes for Xhosa initiates.

The fact that he gets to show his work to the international fashion industry during South Africa’s Heritage Month is a cherry on top of a pretty sweet achievement!

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