South Africa has witnessed many of the local designers take the global stage and excelling beyond imagination. They have opened doors for many aspirants who not only showcase designs but speak true activism through fashion. Their garments inspire change and often have a hidden yet loud and clear message. Siphelele Ntombela is one of the 50 young designers that have been chosen at the Design Indaba for top emerging designers.
A textile design graduate from Nelson Mandela University, he is passionate about fashion as well and fuses the two in his work. His most famous work, the African Renaissance Collection: Nguni Collection AW20 has been internationally recognised. He has been invited to showcase the collection at the Oxford Fashion Studio in London. The designer is currently looking for sponsorship and to help expose the brand internationally, so he can perforate international markets.
“I’m planning to penetrate the overseas market by being unique in the space of knitwear. My collection embraces the Nguni cultures by using high end fashion and the quality of the clothing speaks for itself. The material used is Mohair which is natural fibre that comes from the Angora goat in the Eastern Cape,” Siphelele proclaims.
Hailing from Ladysmith, he works with Lihle Menziwa, a photographer based in PE. Together they work their magic and took Siphelele’s mastery to greater heights. His African Renaissance Nguni Collection, knitwear range is inspired by the South African history of tribes. The 100% local range pays homage to the history of tribes; Swati, Zulu, Ndebele and Xhosa and the tribalism that has been caused.
“The inspiration behind my new collection is the Nguni tribes which are Zulus, Xhosas, Ndebeles and Swatis. My inspiration came from the encounters I’ve had with different tribes and came to a realisation that each tribe prides themselves and that was promoting tribalism in the Nguni culture. My intentions with this range was uniting tribes through fashion by incorporating every culture from the Nguni culture and create something that everyone can associate with,” he further explained.
Siphelele has worked on another project called African Renaissance Zulu Collection which was inspired by his late mother Joyce Nosimilo Ntombela. She comes from a royal Zulu family called abathembu (Sitholes) eMhlumayo. He was inspired by the Zulu garments worn by royal Zulu people.
The African inspired designer was recently inducted as one of the top 50 emerging artists in the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives 2020. A Department of Arts and Culture development, it has helped acknowledge creatives across the country since the year 2005. Upcoming designers that are doing amazing work in the space of creativity and arts, much like Siphelele, earn their spot in the top 50. “I was very excited because finally my work has been recognised on an international platform and I’m hoping for the best,” he said.
The young designers’ quest at growing the local designing industry in this country and take over internationally is something he is looking to push even further. He is currently ‘fighting’ the Western culture which seems to own the high end fashion space in the world. “I want the African brand to also be a staple in every person’s household, next to Gucci, Versace etc. My next move is getting in the Nano-technology space and create a brand that will fit in the Fourth Industrial Revolution shift.”
You can follow him on Twitter: Nguni BlackMoor (@siphelelenyzer), Instagram: @lihlemenziwa.