MaXhosa by Laduma Spreads Xhosa Tradition Around The Globe
LAGOS, Nigeria - Ask any fashion enthusiast their thoughts on MaXhosa by Laduma and immediate words come to mind: bold colors, traditional heritage, and luxurious knitwear. Creative Director Laduma Ngxokolo has painstakingly narrowed his aesthetic since 2010 so that those words resonate with any beholder of his work. It is a strategic choice no doubt as his consistency has strengthened his growing brand awareness and has led to prestigious commissions (most recently The Museum of Modern Art's Items: Is Fashion Modern?) oceans away from his native home in South Africa.
His Spring 2018 presentation at Heineken Lagos Fashion & Design Week was emphasis on the same. Stripes of variety - thin, thick, horizontal, and vertical - offered a thread of continuity between the looks. His incorporation of Xhosa-inspired patterns took modern form in mohair and wool blend cardigans, tiny short shorts, and ankle socks. You must remember Ngxokolo began his brand as his website states with the intention to create knitwear suitable for "amakrwala, who are prescribed by tradition to dress up in new dignified formal clothing for six months after their manhood initiation." Several years later, his cultural heritage laid the foundation to build a brand now stocked in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and South Africa.
Given the season, most looks were styled with no undergarments and open-toed footwear, but there was no denying the prominence of the knitwear. Newer silhouettes in a bomber jacket and duster coat were refreshing, but Ngxokolo left this beholder wanting more innovation. Ngxokolo toes a line of commercial and editorial well, but the tropes that have performed well in the past were over-represented in the Spring 2018 collection. The little beaded pennants were a powerful touch, a symbol of something one can pin and take off at will. How does one carry their cultural heritage - in an all over dominating print or in a subtler fashion? Ngxokolo gives his client the choice and what is more modern than that?
Images courtesy of INDIGITAL.