True Love fashion editor Jessica Ramoshaba recently spoke to Laduma Ngoxolo owner and designer of Maxhosa by Laduma, which has taken over the local and international fashion scene. He has revived textile and knitwear designer into a trendy and vibrant style by infusing a strong Xhosa identity into each garment he creates dnd he has been recognised for his innovative ideas. At the Design Indaba, held in Cape Town in February, one of his garments was named “the most beautiful object in South Africa”. In 2015, he won the Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa prize to showcase his collections at the Palazzo Morando Show in Milan, Italy. And in 2014, Ngxokolo was awarded a scholarship to study for a master’s degree in material futures at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, England, until 2016. The brand’s popularity soared in April this year, when Beyoncé blogged in praise of one of his garmens after seeing it displayed at an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York. Born and raised in Port Elizabeth, it’s his mother who taught him to knit at age 15, using a hand-operated machine. “I started making knitwear for three clients while in high school. I grew up reading Italian fashion magazines, which instilled in me the aspiration of establishing a fashion brand that would be as innovative and credible as the ones I read about.” Ngxokolo says he didn’t expect this kind of success so soon after launching MaXhosa by Laduma. “I honestly never felt that my concepts would be relevant to a global audience, but I knew that my work would be relevant to my initial target market, which was Xhosa initiates – and I originally created clothing for them. Knitwear design is the art form I have chosen to make social commentary,” he says. Read more on this design maestro in the October issue.
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