In light of fashion designer, Sindiso Khumalo getting at the 2020 LVMH Prize – a few months after Thebe Magugu became the first African designer to win the award, we thought this would be the perfect time to highlight other South African designers who we think deserve a nomination.
Fresh off opening Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin amongst a couple of other South African designers, Rich Mnisi has been on a roll throughout his five years of operation. Amongst his long list of accolades, Mnisi was named Emerging Designer of the Year at last year’s inaugural Essence Best in Black Fashion awards in New York. His vibrant designs have not only been making waves in fashion but also in interior design. His chaise from his Nwa-Mulamula furniture collection is nominated for Design Indaba’s 2020 Most Beautiful Object in South Africa. The designer has even dressed Beyonce. Is there anything more we need to say?
Fashion designer Laduma Ngxokolo, recently opened his own flagship store at Mall of Africa and boasts stockists from London to New York. Like Rich, Beyonce also gave him a shout out back in 2016 after she saw his work at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. While exploring the museum’s latest signature contemporary design exhibition series, Beyonce took a snapshot of his work and shared it on her website as part of her popular ‘My Life’ diary post. An LVMH nomination is only something we’re expecting at this point.
Appropriately-nicknamed the ‘Prince of Prints,’ Chu Suwannapha’s label Chulaap is a testament of how marrying two distinct cultures can make for interesting designs. Chu, who is of Thai-descent, generally infuses bold African print work while taking cues from his own Asian heritage. This marriage of aesthetics has proven to be a hit worldwide, and with the label not only being a mainstay at local fashion weeks, but it also recently showed at 080 Barcelona Fashion in Spain. The label will soon be stocked at Paradise Garage Store in Paris, France.
One of the more underrated designers in the country, Mdingi’s minimalistic approach to avant-garde fashion finds a midpoint between understated and attention-grabbing. Last year, Mdingi’s eponymous label had a presentation at New York Fashion Week and was recently selected as one of six African labels to take part in EFI’s (Ethical Fashion Initiative) Accelerator Programme. We have our eyes on him and hope the rest of the world will start taking notice soon.
Neo Serati sees Nao Serati as a brand but also as ‘a means of self-expression for an alter-ego that’s not concerned with being accepted in the public eye or not’ (which we assume is the reason for his name being slightly-altered for the brand’s name). This spirit run’s through the ethos of the athleisure brand, which typically explores ideas of alternative masculinity. The brand has had a steady rise in the South African fashion industry, and an LVMH nomination could be on the horizon as its stock rises.
Although her brand, VIVIERS, is fairly new to the industry, Lezanne Viviers is no newbie. The designer worked for Marianne Fassler for eight years, eventually assuming the position of Creative Director, and has used that acumen to the benefit of her own new venture. VIVIERS has already amassed a considerable following, and was one of the four South African labels to open Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week recently. The ‘new-luxe’ label (as Viviers describes it) is sure about to take the world by storm.
All images were supplied