South African label MaXhosa by Laduma is one of the few South African labels almost religiously steeped in culture. The brand was literally created to serve one of the Xhosa tribes most sacred rituals, the coming of age ceremonies of its young men into adulthood that requires them to be sequestered from their communities and bond for a period of three to six months. At the end of the ritual, the parents of the newly minted men are presented with gifts of clothing by their parents. Laduma who went through the process became inspired when his parents gave him western clothing for his ritual, because there were no South African, high quality alternatives.
Since the label began, it has garnered international acclaim for its distinct patterns and motifs that draw inspiration from the elaborate bead work that is a highlight of Xhosa culture. The new collection shown at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg Spring 17 runway show Couture D’Afrique showcase, doesn’t stray too far from the label’s aesthetics but sees the label experiment outside of it’s traditional knits, using jerseys and other fabrics. It also sees it strengthen its attempts to fuse contemporary designs with the functionality and purpose of the MaXhosa brand to varying levels of success. The clothes this season are more slouchy, less formal, more accessible.
It’s such a gift to see a brand stay relevant by finding a niche and completely dominating it. MaXhosa will be here for a long while.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo.