LADUMA NGXOKOLO’S FASHION LABEL, MAXHOSA HONOURS XHOSA ROOTS INTERNATIONALLY
Xhosa-inspired fashion label, Maxhosa, has taken fashion and textile designer, Laduma Ngxokolo to international runways. The Insider SA catches up with Laduma on his latest achievements and the inspiration behind the art.
Meet Laduma Ngxokolo – the visionary behind the famous, South African fashion label, Maxhosa. Laduma is renowned for incorporating his Xhosa culture into his signature knitwear designs, taking his Eastern Cape creativity to international runways.
The idea began in 2010 as a thesis project while Laduma was studying at Nelson Mandela University. Laduma’s original aim was to create alternative fashion choices for the amakrwala (Xhosa initiates), having been through the ritual himself.
In the Xhosa culture, once a young man turns 18, he has to undergo a ritual and get a new wardrobe to celebrate his manhood. To inspire this new wardrobe, Laduma spent time in museums and libraries researching samples of what Xhosa people created during the early 1900s. However, he didn’t have to look far for a source of cultural creativity. In fact, all he had to do was think about his mother.
“The deep roots [of Maxhosa] go down to my late mother teaching us about our Xhosa tradition and getting out anthropologic books from libraries. Instead of having bedtime stories, we had that content at home”, Laduma shares. “It was something that powerfully instilled pride in our own culture”. Laduma believes that his mother’s love for design and craft (and her exceptionally high standards!) are the reason he has become the success he is today.
Maxhosa’s premium knitwear range honours Xhosa culture, language, symbolism, traditional beadwork, and uses blends of South African mohair, wool and silk. With his striking patterns and bold prints, Laduma’s art never went unnoticed. After he came first for his thesis project, the awards keep rolling in. Laduma has won the hearts of fashion lovers and media from around the globe.
“The best was from Vogue Italia”, explains Laduma as he recounts his time spent in Milan after winning the 2015 Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa prize which allowed him to showcase his collections at the Palazzo Morando show. New African Magazine has also named Laduma one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017. However, the best prize for him is winning the respect and confidence of his community back home.
Laduma admits that 10 years ago, he never could have imagined where his business would be today. Recently, Maxhosa has opened a flagship store in the Mall of Africa in Midrand, and a second store in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This has been a dream come true for Laduma who is now able to see his creations alongside some of the world’s most sought-after brands in fashion. “With action, dreams do become a reality,” Laduma shares, “but it still feels surreal!”.
South African influencer, rapper, and entrepreneur, Riky Rick comments, “Laduma is one of the most influential, pioneering designers of our time. Every time you put on a Maxhosa outfit, you feel a little bit more connected to where you’re from. You feel a little bit more connected to your cultural roots – whether you’re Xhosa, Zulu, or Venda, you feel like you’re representing home”.
With Maxhosa’s fame rising locally and internationally, Laduma wants his statement to ring clear: “Black child, it is possible”. Laduma explains, “We often have to remind our people that dreaming the impossible is often the best reality to live. But once you get there, you have to extend the ladder down and remind others that where we are is not beyond reach. It is reachable”.
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CONNECT WITH LADUMA NGXOKOLO
CONNECT WITH MAXHOSA
Maxhosa Africa – Mall of Africa
Mall Of Africa, Lone Creek Cres & Magwa Cresent, Waterfall City,Midrand
Johannesburg, Gauteng, 1686
Maxhosa Africa – V&A Waterfront
Victoria Walf Shopping Centre, Shop 7233, Upper Level, Cape Town
Phone: +27 67 861 6465
For the full list of stock stockists visit: maxhosa.africa/storelocator