Lukhanyo Mdingi is a menswear designer based in Cape Town, South Africa, a place where one does not usually look to find the next fashion trend. However, Mdingi is changing all of that. The designer states that he loves South Africa and wants to help his country experience and celebrate both art and culture through fashion. With his team that consists of “South Africa’s most talented creatives” Gabrielle Kannemeyer, Travys Owen, Amori Birch and Amber Caplan; Mdingi strives to build his label. He described his creative process to us as “trial and error”, dealing with creating his pieces, but states that the experience is extremely rewarding.
All of Mdingi trial and error has paid off, and he created a stunning SS/16 collection that featured deep navy blue colors, which he describes as being very “pure” and “taintless.” The collection is photographed on a beach and the message of the ocean is conveyed clearly to the observer. Even the models are painted blue, and it seems like the color of clothing and skin blends together effortlessly. It creates a monochromatic effect which contrasts greatly with the sandy location of the photo shoot. It’s not the clothing itself that is bold, but how he chooses to represent this color that makes the collection strong. Mdingi approach to creating flawless layering can be attributed to his patient work ethic. He chooses each pattern and fabric individually and adds onto the pieces slowly, much like an artist adds layers of paint onto a masterpiece. The clothes themselves are loose fitting and are practical for the summer months, as they are simple in construction allowing for multiple layers. Strong models, such as Sanele Xaba, also help convey the message of a strong collection with their striking looks. With this collection alone, Mdingi has created such a powerful image that he has to work hard to keep the image of his brand on the same level, but according to Mdingi this won’t be a problem. He told us that “Gabrielle and Travys have that on lockdown!”, persuading us to believe that his next collection will be more breathtaking and stunning than the last.
Mdingi is creating a movement in South African fashion and art, and it’s clear from the quality of his designs and his work ethic that this will not be the last we see of the Cape Town native. In fact, we’re excited to see what mark he leaves on his community and the world.
Photography TRAVYS OWEN
Text by ANDREA CARRERA