MaXhosa Africa’s Laduma Ngxokolo explains what it takes to start a fashion brand

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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 designer has shown his Milan collections at New York Fashion Week, worked on Coming to America 2 and dressed a long list of international and local celebrities – among other milestones.
  • Laduma told TRUELOVE how her passion for design started as a teenager and expanded her brand to attract more customers.

The design has been my passion since the age of 16. I did textile design and art in high school. After matric, I studied a BA in Textile Design and Technology at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. During my senior year, I focused on knitting, a hobby taught to me by my late mother.

Win the This year’s Vogue Scouting for Africa award taught me that credibility is good. Vogue Italia is a great publisher – there were a lot of great designers in the category with me, and being selected meant a lot. Italy is the hub of luxury production, and Vogue gave me the opportunity to take my work to Milan Fashion Week, which is amazing.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA OCTOBER 05: (SOUTH AFRICA

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 08: A model walks the runway

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

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 08: A model walks the runw

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

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I work in the UK, to develop my brand and attract more customers. I’m also studying part-time at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, continuing a Future Materials course which I started in November 2014. London is a very interesting market and quite different from what we have back home . I want to develop other easily accessible products (like socks and mats) and have an established supply chain.

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

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA OCTOBER 05: (SOUTH AFRICA

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 discovering Italian fashion house Missoni, I realized that it was possible to create a legacy through knitwear craftsmanship. I admired Craig Native, Sun Goddess, Marianne Fassler and Stoned Cherrie. They were inspiring because their aim was to celebrate being proudly South African. As my work grew, I loved how people like Alexander McQueen executed their designs and conceptualized their work.

I always make sure I deliver because a design is only 10% of what it takes to establish a brand. I believe education creates awareness because if you’re not aware, you have no idea. I don’t mean you have to get a degree; The Internet is a gateway to information and you can use it.

success is a state of mind. I think it’s important to stay positive every day and I focus on finding the good in every negative thing in my life.

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