08 - 03
By Anelisa Nokoyo
MaXhosa by Laduma is a true South African brand that’s deeply rooted and inspired by Xhosa culture and tradition. Not only is this relatively young fashion empire growing in leaps and bounds on a local level, but it continues to make its presence felt abroad, with international recognition that is evidenced by awards like the Africa Fashion International Emerging Designer of the year award, as well as the Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa Award.
However, these accolades should come as no surprise to this unique brand, MaXhosa Fashion, whose founder Laduma Ngxokolo has been attaining awards since long before he even left University. The first award he received was the International Society of Dyers and Colourists Design Award which was in 2010 before he even launched his brand. In 2011 when he introduced MaXhosa by Laduma to the world, he was awarded the Marie Claire Prix De Excellence Best Emerging Designer award, which is enough to motivate any start-up designer to continue doing more.
In the same year, he was also presented with the Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa Award also known as the MBOISA, an accolade which played a huge role in introducing his brand to the rest of the world. From then on, his extremely versatile and inspired patterns became an in demand item for many fashionistas, both locally and abroad, but perhaps the most inspiring part of this band’s story is it’s humble beginnings.
MaXhosa brand began as an ode to young men from the Xhosa culture, who after undergoing an ancient initiation process into manhood, are required to shed their old clothes for distinct formal attire that is more fitting of their status as young men in the community. The inspiration struck Ngxokolo, who was in high school at the time, to start creating modern garments for these young men that would still appeal to their new status in the community, while reflecting their culture, hence the inspired Xhosa patterns and colors seamlessly superimposed onto a structured silhouette.
What started as a high-school hobby has now grown into an international brand that boasts both mens’ and womens’ wear ranges. Proudly South African materials are used in the making of the garments, including plush mohair and wool, while the prints still reflect the traditional Xhosa attire that inspired them.
In many of his interviews, Ngxokolo always expresses a desire to tell a tale through his designs, and he admits to utilising the colour and patterns as a part of that story-telling process. However, he goes on to say that even without the patterns the colour still reaches the people and shares the stories of the heritage and culture of the Xhosa people that he comes from.
The MaXhosa brand continues to shine
The MaXhosa by Laduma brand continues to make waves, as Ngxokolo was recently named the first designer to pair with international brand, Chivas Regal. The brand has commissioned Ngxokolo to design new packaging for the whiskey in celebration of its 18th birthday.
His more recent awards include the Fashion Designer of the Year Southern Africa: ABRYANZ Style and Fashion Awards, which he received in 2016, and in 2017 he got the Pride of Africa: Africa Fashion Week Barcelona Award. Not only that, but the brand continues to proudly represent South Africa and Africa on the international stage, with global icons like Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz proudly showing off their MaXhosa by Laduma garments on social media, along with noted international bloggers from Europe and Asia.
In a nutshell…
Overall, the MaXhosa by Laduma brand has really shown what is possible when African designers share their unique cultures with the world, and its success gives aspiring African designers the hope to reach the same level of success if not more. In a nutshell, it’s an inspiration to the African child that; the sky is truly the limit.
To get yourself some of the inspired designs from this year’s collection of Maxhosa by Laduma, visit their website on Maxhosa.co.za, which offers an interactive interface and international shipping facilities that cater for customers all around the world.