Feel-good fashion gets featured

2017-07-25 06:01
Lukhanyo Mdingi

Lukhanyo Mdingi

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A Tamboerskloof fashion designer is being showcased in a local advertising campaign for his designs that weave together empowerment and elegance.

Lukhanyo Mdingi’s label Atify (Africa this is for You) uses ethically sourced and locally produced textiles to create pieces that celebrate the spirit of African design and heritage.

For his use of fashion as a tool for activism, Smirnoff has partnered with Mdingi as part of its Change Makers ­campaign.

The campaign, currently running on Smirnoff’s social media platforms, highlights local and international creatives who are bringing attention to issues plaguing society and are making a positive change around them.

“We’re an African label that focuses on the essence of celebrating the spirit of heritage and design. Established in 2015 the label’s core intention has been to use the power of collaboration to push the identity of modern narratives that coexists in Africa today,” he says.

While working with a small community of women to produce Atify’s cross-cultural inspired collections, Mdingi learnt about the impact that opening trade with China has had on the local textile and clothing industry, with close to 500 000 people losing their jobs. He also realised that the majority of the women he and other designers employed were over 50, meaning that the craft of sewing and the skills used to create ornate garments would soon be lost once these women retire.

Wanting to ensure a sustainable South African textile and clothing industry, Mdingi has collaborated with Learn to Earn.

The organisation has a special division in Khayelitsha that trains unemployed people to gain sewing skills and an understanding of the production line process.

Graduates are employed by the division and manufacture handmade high-quality corporate gifts, conference bags and promotional items, helping them to become ­self-sustaining.

“Essentially our message has been and will always be to use your time and talent to contribute to your country and make it to what you envision it to be. For us that is simply pushing the celebration of arts and culture and all that coexists in it. There are unique and strong stories that I believe need to be shared across many disciplines in the arts.”

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