Lukhanyo Mdingi is the name on everybody’s lips and after browsing through his latest collection, Taintless, it is easy to understand why.
South African based menswear fashion designer Lukhanyo Mdingi was born and raised in a small town in the Eastern Cape. He moved to Cape Town a mere five years ago to pursue his love of fashion. Without pre-existing friends or family in “The Mother City”, Mdingi saw the move as a clean slate and grabbed the opportunity to re-create both himself and his vision. Fast forward to the present and he is now the proud owner of a self titled menswear label, was a finalist in the Elle Magazine Rising Star competition and is one of the co-founders of the very first South African Menswear Week.
The Lukhanyo Mdingi line exudes minimalistic sophistication. The garments are elegant and neat in their design and are flawlessly put together. Mdingi’s first collection, Iridescence, plays with geometric shapes, unconventional materials and is predominantly white with pink/purple contrasting elements. His second collection, Macramé, was inspired by the historic Arabic knotting style. The garments are a true reflection of his minimalistic aesthetic, with a few pieces reminiscent of local streetwear. Mdingi’s latest collection, Taintless, was inspired by oriental aesthetics. Equally important, the collection is gender neutral and is cleverly crafted so as to appeal to all individuals regardless of sex. As a designer, Mdingi insists on keeping an eye on, not only local fashion trends, but also on the movement of the international fashion industry. His need to propel South African fashion onto the global scene resulted in the development of South Africa’s very first South African Menswear Week.
South African Menswear Week stands for the empowerment of menswear in a largely female-dominated market. As a key player in the development of SAMW, Mdingi describes the production as “fresh and powerful”. The launch of SAMW was well received by African audiences. Mdingi’s face and brand were plastered on every fashion magazine cover and interview relevant to SAMW. There was no escaping the presence of Lukhanyo Mdinigi and his growing empire. Unscathed by the pressure of being the face of such a historic event, the designer used the attention as a means to further drive his goal of increased investment in the South African Arts and Culture industry. The revolutionary designer stated, “The Arts and Culture should be popular career choices, this should be instilled in our education from the very beginning. Design should be made a priority and be on par with Math and Science”.
Having accomplished so much in the last 5 years, and at only twenty-three years of age, Mdingi credits his success to his
laser-like focus, consistency and undeniable love for his craft. He knows and values the importance of being honest about his failures without giving them power over his dreams. Young, driven and seemingly unstoppable, Lukhanyo Mdingi is definitely a designer to keep an eye on.