photography & story — Amandla Baraka

Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2016 — Backstage at LFDW was chaos, characterized by many small moments of glory. Photographers danced amongst one another. Models stormed through the space, gloriously made up. In a frenzy, the designers could be seen rushing models into clothes and organizing their lines. It was quite a majestic sight. The room was spinning with activity and there, in the center of it all, was Laduma Ngxokolo. The MaXhosa designer was as cool as a cucumber, instructing models on walking the runway and wearing the clothes. He seemed both certain and relaxed. It was his time.

Creator of MaXhosa, Laduma Ngxokolo, behind the scenes of the MaXhosa runway

In appearance, all of the models wearing Laduma’s MaXhosa collection seem to be playfully and colorfully dressed, but each subtle detail represents a status in the tradition of the Xhosa people. Laduma is known for his Xhosa inspired knitted prints and garments — a language, culture, and community based in the eastern cape of South Africa. In the spirit of the amakrwala, a Xhosa initiate and a pastime Laduma himself has undergone, MaXhosa collections always feature key elements; bold multi-print garments and a strong contrast of colors.

His SS17 collection is called ‘Apropreyeyshin’, which he explains to be a ‘positive approach to appropriation.’ Remaining true to the core of his brand, the collection was heavily Xhosa inspired. There were lengthy dresses adorned with tassel applique and eye-catching prints, combining western and Xhosa interpretations of elegance. Playful iterations of the collection’s design called attention to the general elegance of the female form; bralets, high-waisted mini shorts, and crop tops. The ever-classic short sleeve men’s polo was reimagined with a half-zip opening tease right at the collar. The men’s two-toned collar shirt draws your eye to the neck, sparking thoughts of strength and duty. The variety in proportion speaks universal audiences. There is something for the modest and the bold. MaXhosa by Laduma delivers yet another season of colorful, bold options that are perfect statement pieces with an elegantly bold contour.