MaXhosa Africa’s Laduma Ngxokolo on what it takes to build a fashion brand

Designer Laduma Ngxokolo.

Designer Laduma Ngxokolo.

Andreas Rentz / Getty Images for Vogue and The Dubai

  • Designer Laduma Ngxokolo ignited the international scene after winning the Vogue Scouting for Africa award.
  • Since then, the Gqeberha stylist has shown his collections from Milan to New York Fashion Week, which he has worked on Coming to America 2 and dressed a long list of international and local celebrities – among other milestones.
  • Laduma spoke to TRUELOVE about how her passion for design started as a teenager and expanded her brand to attract more customers.

The design was my passion since I was 16. I did textile design and art in high school. After high school, I studied a bachelor’s degree in textile design and technology at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. During my senior year I focused on knitting, a hobby that my late mum taught me.

Winning the The Vogue Scouting for Africa award this year taught me that credibility is good. Vogue Italia is a great publishing house, there were many great designers in the category with me and being selected meant a lot. Italy is the hub of luxury manufacturing and Vogue gave the opportunity to bring my work to Milan Fashion Week which is amazing.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA OCTOBER 05: (SOUTH AFR

MaXhosa by Laduma fashion show during Africa Fashion International – Joburg Fashion Week at Melrose Arch on October 5, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 8: A model walks the runw

A model walks the runway of the 1981 Maxhosa By Laduma, Soboye show during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2015 at Erika Hess Eisstadion on July 8, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 8: A model walks the runw

A model walks the runway of the 1981 Maxhosa By Laduma, Soboye show during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2015 at Erika Hess Eisstadion on July 8, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.

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I’m working in the UK, expanding my brand and gaining more customers. I am also studying part-time at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, following a course on future materials that I started in November 2014. London is a very interesting and very different market from what we have at home. I want to expand into other products that are easily accessible (such as socks and rugs) and have an established supply chain.

The presence of my family in business it is important … They help me in production and distribution, as well as in public relations and communication.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA OCTOBER 05: (SOUTH AFR

MaXhosa by Laduma fashion show during Africa Fashion International – Joburg Fashion Week at Melrose Arch on October 5, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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After I found out Italian fashion house of Missoni knitwear, I realized that it is possible to create a legacy through knitting. I have always admired Craig Native, Sun Goddess, Marianne Fassler and Stoned Cherrie. They were inspiring because their goal was to celebrate being proudly South African. As my work grew, I liked the way people like Alexander McQueen executed their designs and conceptualized their work.

I always make sure you deliver because a design is really only 10 percent of what it takes to establish a brand. I believe that education creates awareness because if you are not aware you have no idea. I do not mean that you are obliged to take a degree; The internet is a gateway to information and you can use it.

Success is A mood. I think it’s important to stay positive every day and focus on finding the good in every negative thing in my life.

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