Clothes have the power to make us feel certain things. Wearing a statement blazer can make us feel powerful and bright garments have the ability to make us feel happy or cheerful. Laduma Ngxokolo, the designer behind MAXHOSA AFRICAN, understands that. His Spring Summer 2021 virtual presentation begins with a colorful countdown clock, not just boring numbers. There are patterns, designs and fun colors, giving viewers a small taste of what they are about to see in his collection.
Photo Credit: Arthur Dlamini
The MAXHOSA AFRICA SS21 collection is the brightest collection yet, a welcomed difference from the heaviness our world has experienced the past few months. The show even begins with an introduction about the designs reminding us we need positivity, brightness and fun colors because we survived a global pandemic. And this year’s collection named “INGUMANGALISO IMISEBENZI KA THIXO” translates into “God’s work is miraculous.” In fact, the collection is named after a song composed by Ngxokolo’s late grandfather, a jazz artist, composer and radio presenter. Ngxokolo shares his insight into the beauty of nature, something we can witness working from home. While watching his collection, you can see how he incorporates this admiration into his designs.
Photo Credit: Arthur Dlamini
His presentation was an actual runway show, something I didn’t know I was craving to see this NYFW. While I welcome the different opportunities and variations of digital presentations, watching models display a collection that a designer works so hard on is extraordinary. It also allows viewers to see the designs together and how the theme applies to every design.
The fun countdown at the beginning of his show was a sneak peek at the colors we would see in his SS21 collection. His knitwear designs displayed bright yellows, reds, pinks, oranges and different shades of blue. Even the black and white color designs expressed a fun and positive feeling. It was evident the Xhosa culture inspired his looks, utilizing horizontal lines, prints, patterns and even tassels. He coupled beautifully textured designs with layers for both men and women, even adding fun elements like bucket hats and bags to complete each look.
While Ngxokolo’s theme may be “God’s work is miraculous,” I also felt a theme of unity- one among the models, designer and crew who worked together to help this digital presentation come to life. The finale of any runway show is my favorite since audience members can see the designs altogether. The MAXHOSA AFRICA SS21 finale had all the models together, displaying the power, vibrancy and happiness of the collection.
But what stands out from this show besides the obviously beautiful garments, the story behind the line. Ngxokolo shared these knitwear designs were a solution for amakrwala, a ritual within his culture for men over the age of 18. What some people may view as aesthetically pleasing is much deeper, and fashion lovers need to recognize the meaning behind the MAXHOSA line. His collection will be available at the end November, here.