/ 17 June 2023

Objects of Desire: Local legends

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Ntwana is the new designer on our radar.

South African fashion designers consistently prove that they are ones to watch. It is easy to think of the fashion world as frivolous, and South Africans as underdogs where European conglomerate-owned designers dominate.

But, so many of our local designers bring home major prizes and rise above their international fashion counterparts, by keeping their works precisely African, and never forgetting where they came from.

In a world where Thebe Magugu, Lukhanyo Mdingi, and Sindiso Khumalo lead the pack of strong South African designers, local talent too cuts through the noise of ubiquitous international brands with highly focussed sartorial narratives.

Fine lines

Connade’s Contour pieces are effortless, feminine, and bold. Created by Shelley Mokoena, Connade draws inspiration from the women who have come before us, who have fostered a world for strong women today. Despite being a relatively young brand since establishing in 2019, Connade’s Contour garments are instantly recognisable and memorable. Available through Connade.

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Connade’s Contour pieces are eff ortless, feminine and bold.

In the trenches

Ntwana is the new, enigmatic designer who is on our radar. You may have seen many of your favourite culture-makers like Kefilwe Mabote and ‘Lelo What’s Good’,  sporting an ostrich leather trench.

Ntwana’s co-founder Mikhail Brown, says “Ntwana explores African Luxury from the interpretation of the contemporary youth. Exploring the concept of ‘overlapping’ as a platform to create new ideas”. Available through Ntwana.

Soft power

One of South Africa’s most talented and beloved designers, Lukhanyo Mdingi is a highly sincere and pragmatic designer in South Africa’s fashion ecosystem.

Since winning the Karl Lagerfeld LVMH Prize in 2021 Mdingi continues to put South African woven craft through sartorial storytelling on the global stage. At the heart of the pieces, design is the methodology, connection is the vision. Available through Lukhanyo Mdingi.

Close knit

Mmuso Maxwell is another Johannesburg-based studio to have won the prestigious Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation in 2022. From tailoring to hand-woven pieces, and geometric denim pants, Mmuso Maxwell is heavenly sublime. The magic of the brand lies in its ability to transcend trends and seasons through the pieces, making it difficult for anyone to put it in a box, thankfully. Available through Mmuso Maxwell