Tina stitches up design prizes

Gillian McAinsh

KWADWESI student Tina Ngxokolo sewed up the competition when she won best range at the NMMU Collective Graduate Showcase and Fashion Show and took second spot in the mohair category.

On Friday, the third-year fashion design student won a Bernina voucher for R4000 and R2000 cash from Heinz in Style for her collection, and another R2000 from Mohair South Africa for her creative use of mohair.

“It was worth all the hard work this year and the response was overwhelming,” Ngxokolo, 26, said.

She chose a Xhosa wedding party for her range of eight vibrant yet earthy outfits as the 18 third-year students were briefed to use a tribal theme.

“My concept was inspired by a very traditional people, the AmaQaba, who use ochre as make-up on their bodies and in their clothing.

“Among Xhosa people AmaQaba has a bad connotation, someone who is unintelligent and doesn’t know anything. But I wanted to embrace them and turn it around, using their craft, colours, shapes and styling.”

The Ngxokolo name has hit the headlines for fashion talent before as Tina’s younger brother, Laduma, 25, also an NMMU fashion design graduate, has received international acclaim for his MaXhosa range of men’s wool and mohair knitwear.

The siblings both treasure and are inspired by their Xhosa heritage.

“We can’t help it. Our mother brought us up in that environment of appreciating Xhosa beadwork. It was not taboo or seen as not being modern,” Ngxokolo said.

“It will take me places and it is taking Laduma to the world stage. He is getting a lot of orders coming in from overseas and is also supplying a boutique in Cape Town that has a branch in London.”

Laduma showed his sophisticated ethnic knitwear in Johannesburg at Africa Fashion International.

The fashion fiesta showcased first- and second-year students who presented their Free Creative style and the work of fourth-year students as well as Japanese designs from the Mode Gakuen University in Nagoya, Japan. The two students who won the Japanese competition this year, Hitomi Hagiwara and Keiko Ishii, showed designs using Eastern Cape mohair.

Ngxokolo said she had not yet decided on a fourth year of studies: “I’m still thinking of a BTech. After Friday, I am quite motivated!”

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