Bay designer knits his way up fashion ladder

Neo Bodumela

NELSON Mandela Bay master knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo is going from strength to strength with his range of Xhosa-inspired men’s knitwear.

After presenting his range, Amakwrala – which is inspired by the initiation and circumcision ritual that Xhosa men go through – in London and Milan and being interviewed by international magazines GQ and L’Uomo Vogue, he has now been nominated for the young fashion designer of the year award at the first annual Ikusasa National Youth Awards.

Ngxokolo, 25, grew up in KwaDwesi but is temporarily based in Cape Town. His designs have won him several awards, including the prestigious Bradford-based Society of Dyers and Colourists annual international design award in 2010 and the Marie Claire emerging designer of the year award and he is preparing shipments of his designs to countries as far afield as Australia.

“I’m very excited about the nomination even though it’s not the first I have had, but it’s the first on a national scale. Right now I am doing mostly production work from Cape Town,” he said.

“There was a sale hosted by a boutique in Cape Town and my designs were bought by a company in London. I have also received a few orders from Japan and Australia.”

Ngxokolo, a former Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University textile design and technology student, credits his mother as his inspiration.

While he is concentrating on growing his career and establishing a base for his growing business, aptly named MaXhosa, he plans to continue his studies.

“It takes quite a lot of hard work establishing my name in the market and I am very patient with it. Right now I am investing a lot of time and effort and concentrating solely on my career,” he said.

“Later this year I will present my new range for next year. I will also be at either SA Fashion Week or Johannesburg Fashion Week.”

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