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On our radar: fashion designer Sindiso Khumalo

Sindiso Khumalo SS 2021 film directed by Jonathan Kope, starring Nina Henry from Boss Models. Styling by Githan Coopoo, hair styling and makeup from beauty artist Suaad Jeppie at One League. Music by Gervase Gordan. Textile Illustrations by Shakil Solanki

“Our SS21 collection is based on our muse, Harriet Tubman and speaks to her childhood, named after her childhood name “Minty”. The collection features beautiful hand illustrations of the plants Harriet would have encountered as a child, namely the cotton plant, and the Philadelphia Fleabane. Beautifully illustrated by Cape Town artist Shakil Solanki.

Some have asked me “Why Harriet and why now?” Essentially, I feel that we have to look at historical events and figures in order to understand our present. Violence against black women has been in existence since Harriet Tubman’s time and still exists today with Uyinene Mrwetyana in South Africa, Breonna Taylor in the United States and the Chibok school girls from Nigeria who were stolen by Boko Haram.
These events are all linked, and the violence is still rife.

What I try to do with my collections is to pay homage to women like Harriet Tubman and to all women who have been victims of gender based violence.

Shot in Philadelphia, Cape Town, it tells the story of a young girl walking freely through the land. As women, we deserve to walk freely through any landscape, or place without fear. We deserve to go to a post office, to be in our home or go to school, without fear of rape, kidnapping and death. This video is reclaiming the land, that we should be walking freely in.”

— Sindiso Khumala

WHO SHE IS: Sindiso is a sustainable textile designer based in Cape Town. She studied architecture at the University of Cape Town prior to moving to London, where she went onto study a Masters in Design for Textile Futures at Central St. Martins. Sindiso Khumalo founded her eponymous label with a focus on creating modern sustainable textiles with a strong emphasis on African story telling. She designs the textiles in her collections by hand through watercolours and collage. Over the years she has developed a uniquely colourful visual voice, which draws upon her Zulu and Ndebele heritage, and also speaks to the land of Kwazulu Natal, where she is from.

Sustainability, craft and empowerment lie at the heart of the label. She works very closely with a NGO’s in developing handmade textiles for her collections including Embrace Dignity, which helps get women out of exploitative sex work and into safe and stable career paths. For Khumalo’s spring collection, these women hand-crocheted the pocket detailing and embroideries. She also commissioned hand-printed silk taffeta and handwoven cottons from women-led workshops in Burkina Faso.

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