Laduma Ngxokolo- South Africa’s Leading Fashion Designer
Laduma Ngxokolo is one of South Africa’s leading knitwear designers, from the South Eastern Cape in Africa. His collection called MAXHOSA BY LADUMA, is inspired by the Xhosa men and its traditions.
Xhosa young men between the ages of 18 and 20 must undergo a process that takes them from boyhood into a manhood. The young men must wear robes and painted faces with clay until they are circumcised by traditional healers. After the circumcision, they must wear formal clothing, according Vogue Italia, Ngxokolo says, “Parents, after the ritual, which last for six months, buy a new sweater for their children. So I created items that answer directly the needs of the ceremonies of our ethnicity.”
Ngxokolo, who has also undergone the process, was not happy with his Eastern traditions having to wear western formal wear. Laduma designed knitwear for Xhosa men, to match Xhosa aesthetic.
Taught to use a knitting machine by his mother, Laduma created beautiful and colorful patterns are inspired by Xhosa beadwork, using wool and mohair from the Eastern Cape. His work has been featured in art exhibits and recently featured in the Mercedes Benz New York fashion week runways.
He has many awards, including Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa Award in 2015, Fashion Designer of the Year Southern Africa: ABRYANZ Style and Fashion Award, in 2016 and most recently the Pride of Africa: Africa Fashion Week Barcelona Award, in 2017. His work has been recognized by Beyoncé, while on a trip to the Smithsonian in New York, she featured a photo on her website.
Laduma’s collection has expanded with jackets, pants, and socks as well as a collection for women, and decorative rugs. His collections are available in stores in South Africa, Japan and New York and will soon expand to the United Kingdom.
Article by Asia Lambert