Our Head of Adventure and co-founder of Artisans & Adventurers, Bee Friedmann, grew up in South Africa and was always inspired by Xhosa culture (a dominant South African ethnic group) and their traditional dress. It is therefore, a natural match that on a visit to Cape Town in 2015 she chanced upon Laduma Ngxokolo. This South African knitwear designer is making huge waves in the fashion and textile world, working with the likes of Zara and Ikea. Communicating culture through fashion and design with a Uptopian African feel.
Laduma's journey started in 2010, with a vision to create a modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection that would be suitable for ‘Amakrwala'. These young Xhosa Men aged between 18 and 23 are prescribed by tradition to dress up in new dignified formal clothing for six months after their manhood initiation. A process Laduma has undergone himself.
The designer was awarded a scholarship to study a Masters in Material Futures at Central St Martins graduating in 2016. His numerous achievements include the Nelson Mandela 2012 rising star award, the 2015 Vogue Italia scouting for Africa award, and the 2017 Pride of Africa award for African fashion week Barcelona.
His bold, sophisticated designs, made from South African mohair, celebrate traditional Xhosa beadwork aesthetics and symbolism. Each collection holds a message. The ‘Mtanom’gquba’ collection celebrates dark skin tones in contrast with bright hues to elevate the appreciation of colour diversity, capturing the beauty of being truly African. The ‘Apropriyeyshin’ collection uses a positive approach to appropriation and culture exchange.
We were really excited to welcome Laduma to Artisans & Adventurers on Columbia road to say hello and drop off his latest collection of sock designs for sale in our store. He is a global advocate of Xhosa culture bringing its traditions to the forefront and keeping up with the changing times through his modern knitwear collection.
Inscribed on the packing of each pair of Maxhosa socks is the Xhosa proverb “Unyawo alunampumlo”. This describes a belief of the Xhosa people that, 'your feet could carry you to occasions you never anticipated you'd appear in.'
What better way than to stride confidently into life's surprising moments than in a pair of bright, snazzy socks.
Shop the Maxhosa by Laduma socks online here.