While the likes of Laduma
Ngxokolo and Maria McCloy specifically come to mind, here are the brands that
really started it all.
While one hears far less about the brand that became synonymous with the traditional wedding, thanks to their Afro-centric couture, there is no doubt that they, along with likes of Bongiwe Walaza were among the first to successfully harvest imagery and symbols related to indigenous South African cultures for fashion.
Who can forget the Drum era imagery that Stoned Cherrie emblazoned on t-shirts in their early days, something that popularised the brand established by Nkhensani Nkosi? Stoned Cherrie went on to become a force within South African fashion, at one point even retailing through Woolworths and Foschini, before they eventually closed up shop a few years ago.
Kasi street culture is also indigenous to use, no? Whether or not you agree, few brands have managed to successfully use the influence of township street style in fashion like Loxion Kulca was able to do at the turn of the century. While they’ve subsequently, over the last few years, tried to make a return, with shows at SA Fashion Week and the like, it was in their early days that Loxion Kulca managed to capture the attention of South African youth by celebrating a culture that is familiar with them.