MaXhosa by Laduma A/W ‘14 MBFWJ

Photography:Simon Deiner

So,when I don’t have my Production Assistant hat on, my Fly-On-The Wall hat makes its way onto my head. Yesterday it happened during an interview with Laduma Ngoxolo that I was lucky enough to get to sit in on. The perks of having interns!

Now I’ve always had an issue of sorts, with South African brands that place themselves as heritage brands because not only are they often not relateable to a wide market; but they also tend to border on kitch/costume/what-are-you-even-trying-to-say-with-your-clothing!? Which may be worse.

What I love about MaXhosa however, is that Laduma singles out iconic Xhosa symbols,digitally manipulates them,juxtaposing colour,print and finishing and ending up with a tetris-alien invasion genius product that clearly, hails Xhosa tradition and if you’re still unsure you can just read the garment label haha. Laduma has made a commercially successful brand whilst expressing his aesthetic exactly the way he wants to and from what I saw backstage,is loved by young and old. These are fashion people though,of course they would.

I asked him if he’d ever consider doing a capsule collection with one of our retailers and he said he’d consider it,but then he’d have to blend synthetic fabrics, minimise use of colour and print and make lighten the weight of the fabric… I don’t know if I’d like that, fast fashion’s far reaching hand should keep it’s hand to itself when it comes to some brands.

Laduma’s done a short course on the business end of fashion,which he says gave him a real jumpstart establishing MaXhosa.A lot of his interview reiterated my belief in the fact that fashion designers need to make a concerted effort to learn the business management,marketing and retailing end of the industry. Knowing exactly where to place a product–He has a store in Namibia and none inJoburg,I asked him how come and he spoke about context. One needs to maintain the message in one’s design and where one chooses to place his brand, lends context to it. He wants to make sure that it stays a heritage brand. We will,hopefully, be able to get our hands on some at my old place of work,Egality,in Parkhurst soon,so much of excite!