When African Fashion Rhymes With Ethics

Sindiso Khumalo, SS2016. Image courtesy Sindiso Khumalo.

Sindiso Khumalo, SS2016. Image courtesy Sindiso Khumalo.

Sindiso Khumalo is a South African textile designer living and working in Hackney, London. Sustainability, craft and empowerment lie at the heart of the label and are subjects that Khumalo feels very passionate about. She has spoken at the United Nations on sustainability in fashion and is currently working closely with the International Trade Centre Ethical Fashion Initiative. Crossing over between art and fashion, she has showcased work at The Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington has had work published in Vogue Italia, Vogue UK, Elle Magazine and Marie Claire Magazine.

This article forms only part of the original story, which was published in IAM#02 | SENEGAL, available to order here.

A remarkable trajectory: after studying architecture at Cape Town University, Sindiso Khmalo pursued her degree with a Masters in Design for Textile Futures from prestigious Central St Martins College of Art & Design, London.

Empowered by her academic background, she launched her eponymous brand in 2012. The starting-point of her designs is durable and ethically conceived textiles. This responsible approach is at the heart of the brand’s positioning; you might even say it is its DNA and reflects the fashion designer’s deeply held convictions.

Sindiso Khumalo. Portait courtesy Sindiso Khumalo.

Sindiso Khumalo. Portrait courtesy Sindiso Khumalo.

“We do not just invent beautiful creations; we imagine clothes which can improve people’s lives by generating employment. It is up to us to make things change on our own continent. We need to develop infrastructures, and they have got to be ones that last.”

As well as being ethical, her clothes are also creative and aesthetic. Khumalo’s inspiration stems from her double Zulu and Ndebele cultural heritage. Her last collection for SS16 is a perfect example of this and plays on contrasts: geometric prints allied to flared shapes, the pared-down look of the lines set against the brilliant colours of some of the fabrics.

To read the rest of this article – which discusses Khumalo’s outstanding international achievements, her take on having global status and how fashion could become an agent of change in Africa – order your copy of IAM#2 | SENEGAL today! Available here.



13.06.2016 – Interview by Chayet Chiénin – Images: Courtesy Sindiso Khumalo.

More about Chayet Chiénin
Chayet Chiénin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Nothing But The Wax, an online platform celebrating African fashion and black beauty. After a 3-year career as a financial auditor in the skyscrapers of La Défense, the business district of Paris, Chiénin gave up everything to become a freelance journalist. Telling stories about the African diaspora and the youth that moves ever-forward – asking questions, expressing their drive and creativity – is her ongoing motivation.



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