Amplifying the voice of African Luxury Fashion on the World Stage

By Lindelwa Masuku

African luxury fashion is becoming an increasingly important platform for connecting Africa with global fashion trends, while also celebrating the continent's unique cultural heritage. One designer who is at the forefront of this movement is Thandazani, a textile designer and luxury fashion brand creator from Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Thandazani studied at St Johns College before going on to the Nelson Mandela University for Textile Design. He is currently working as textile design consultant under CHAP Studios while building his luxury fashion brand, ABANTU by Thandazani.

Under his consultancy, Thandazani has worked on several award-winning collaborative projects, including “Amalaphu Obulumnko” with Today Brand Studios. This project reimagined and reinterpreted Nelson Mandela University’s seven Xhosa written doctoral thesis into textile printed “doek”/iqhiya, earning accolades like three Pendoring Awards, and two Mace Excellence Awards.

CASHMERE DREAMS Wool & Cashmere Cardigans.

Thandazani returned to university for his Honours Degree in 2019, feeling the need to learn more and to challenge his critical thinking around subjects he was already interested in. He is intentional about telling the South African Xhosa culture nuances to the world. 

His collection SITHI ABA, which dealt with identity and belonging in the diaspora, placed him as one of the 40 Emerging Creatives at Design Indaba, and one of ten hottest young designers in the Nandos Surface Print Competition.

Ever since his monumental achievement of winning a student competition by Mohair South Africa, knitting and working with fibres has been his main specialty when making clothing. He is currently the principal creative textile collaborator for IVILI Loboya, the first African cashmere plant in Africa.

As an aspiring fashion designer, Fine Art Honours graduate and writer, I too am of the opinion that identity and belonging are complex and nuanced concepts that are particularly relevant for those in the diaspora. The experience of living away from one's homeland can bring feelings of alienation and disconnection, but it can also offer opportunities for growth and self-discovery. For many in the diaspora, the search for a sense of belonging is an ongoing journey.

The Joburg Post Company recognizes young talent and is changing the narrative to give young voices a platform to showcase their talents. Thandazani is just one of many young designers and artists in Africa who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible and creating a new narrative for the continent. Through their work, they are not only connecting Africa with global fashion trends, but also celebrating the continent's unique cultural heritage, and paving the way for a new generation of designers and artists.

As we continue to explore the complexities of identity and belonging in the diaspora, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual's journey is unique, and it is through the work of talented young designers and artists like Thandazani that we are able to gain a deeper understanding of these concepts and to celebrate the diversity of the African diaspora.

To see the ABANTU collection click here SAFW AW23 COLLECTIONS | ABANTU

Article Tags

African Luxury Fashion

Identity & Belonging

African Diasphora


    Most Read