Maxhosa: Traditional African Beadwork Takes The Runway


It’s been a decade since Laduma Ngxokolo launched his fashion company intending to produce knitwear products that encompass local culture and manufacturing that employed South African mohair and wool and incorporating the traditional African Xhosa beadwork that was virtually unknown outside of the continent.  


The entire collection is shown as a video runway show with models walking on top of a white sheet runway with a backdrop of stacks of colorful knits rectangular pieces hanging from the walls. Knitwear based on traditional Xhosa techniques and patterns is the centerpiece of Maxhosa where the series of colorful striped sleeveless long dress, pink patterned double-breasted jacket pantsuits and a collar polo dress encompass the different patterns, symbolisms and colors.


The menswear consists primarily of knit polo shirts with matching long shorts or with cotton pants and blousons made in various colors and mixtures of patterns – red, brown, and pink, dark chocolate patterns. These matching polos and shorts constitute a new version of a suit, albeit more casual and perhaps more in tune with the now with the square checker pink and purple polo with contrasting collar and trims paired with shorts make a great choice. Just in case a more formal look is required, there is the double-breasted diamond shape multicolor pantsuit.   


It’s a refreshing take, and more than ever, this is coming at a just the right moment in time.  


Hopefully, these knit outfits that celebrate the traditional Xhosa aesthetic and its beadwork heritage can now have an inroad to going global. 

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