Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

Mantsho and Rubicon: Big, bold and beautiful on the SAFW ramp

Celebrated South African designers Mantsho and Rubicon presented bold, African-inspired collections on Friday night at South African Fashion Week.

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SAFW presented the TenTwentyTwenty Digital Collections on Friday 23 October in Midrand.

Due to the pandemic, SAFW presented its trans-seasonal event online in conjunction with the Mall of Africa.

Friday night’s lineup included Mantsho and Rubicon, followed by The Bam Collective, Cindy Mfabe, Ezoketho and Chiefs of Angels. Lunar and Lucent rounded off the night in collaboration with Cape Wools SA.

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Image via @eunicedriverphotography, Eunice Driver Photography

Mantsho

Palesa Mokubung’s women’s clothing line is always bold and distinctive, with her prints and textiles making a statement.

This is the woman who made history as the first African designer to collaborate with a global retailer when she collaborated with H&M in 2019.

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@eunicedriverphotography, Eunice Driver Photography

But jewellery by Jenna Clifford nearly stole the Mantsho show with chunky, oversized earrings complementing the contemporary ethnic feel of the garments.

One Mokubung print in particular stood out, the logo which her brother designed for her.

It’s a black rose that from a distance gives the impression of a cow-hide, but from closer morphs into an abstract flower. Fittingly, because her first name Palesa means flower in Sesotho.

Then, in an imaginative twist placing women firmly at the heart of design when you zoom in, you see that the flower comprises four petals.

Each petal is a portrait of a woman, perhaps a shape-shifting woman like Mokubung, a big personality who lives in style.

Rubicon

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@eunicedriverphotography, Eunice Driver Photography

Rubicon Clothing’s Hangwani Nengovhela has been building her brand for 18 years and today it is known for its subtle African opulence. Her garments are generally sophisticated and timeless, as well as extremely fluid and feminine.

“It’s important to bring revival into the business,” she said in an interview ahead of SAFW.

“And this collection is about revival, newness, as well as going back to who I was, mixing nostalgia and paying homage to my mother.”

Nengovhela has, for this range, dug into her past and printed an image of her mother carrying her on her back on one of the t-shirts in the collection.

She finds inspiration all around her.

“I look to the source of the universe, I love nature, listening to the sounds of birds, sometimes there is nothingness,” said the designer.

“Then you find something that is speaking to you at this moment, and perhaps you can translate it. We are given a few callings, not just fashion design.”

With a qualification in textile and clothing techniques, Nengovhela has contributed her knowledge and skills to some of South Africa’s fashion and textile industry giants.

SAFW 2020

The online SAFW featured 27 designers showing new ranges from 22 to 24 October.

As well as SAFW, the SAFW Trade Show will feature the work of 50 designers at the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa from 1 to 3 November. 

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