Fikile Sokhulu, Emerging African fashion creative genius

Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu, a designer from Durban, has a vision of connecting the concepts of femininity and a deep connection to nature through her fashion brand, Namesake. Her aim is to raise the profile of African fashion on the global stage.

“Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu is a label with a poetic and gentle interpretation of fashion. The brand can appeal to a girl who is finding herself and slowly changing to become a woman or a woman with an established and evolving identity. Brand aesthetics are inspired by femininity and nature and an aspiration to create an organic aesthetic while adorning the African woman,” said Sokhulu as per Bizcommunity.

During South African Fashion Week in 2022, the Namesake fashion company unveiled its Autumn/Winter collection in collaboration with other local brands such as Artclub and Friends and Micheal Ludwig Studio. This showcase was part of the Cruz Vodka-sponsored event known as The Cruz Collective. This prestigious fashion platform, held as a hybrid event, serves as a prominent stage for showcasing the creative talents of the local fashion industry, offering them the exposure necessary to grow their brands both locally and internationally.

Image South African Fashion Week

The Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu (FZS) brand’s garments include striking silhouettes with feminine and romantic elements like frills, ruffles, ruching, and nipped waists, which are aimed to appeal to an ageless modern clientele.

According to Sokhulu, participating in SA Fashion Week provided an opportunity to exhibit FZS’s diversity, raise brand recognition, and align the company with groups that may help it expand. The FZS collection debuted in October (2022) was called Black Diamond, and it came in neutrals, greens, and golds. “A woman as rare as a black diamond. You embody a sacred connection with the earth that aligns with divinity and uniqueness. This concept inspired an exploration of bringing life to dark colours with a hint of gold,” explained Sokhulu with inspiration.

The Designer’s Journey and Milestones

Sokhulu is no newcomer to the fashion runway. Graduating from Durban University of Technology with a degree in fashion design, her early successes as a student catapulted her onto the fashion scene. She made her debut appearance at SA Fashion Week and earned a spot in the Cheers Qingdao Fashion Project in China back in 2018. Furthermore, Sokhulu was recognized as a finalist in the 2018 SA Fashion Week New Talent Search, and in 2020, she collaborated with Mr Price on a fashion collection.

In the following year, Sokhulu achieved a significant career milestone when she was selected as one of the four South African designers for the Fashion Bridges initiative. This initiative marked a noteworthy collaboration between South Africa and Italy, facilitated by various trade and cultural institutions, including SA Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, Polimoda, the Embassy of Italy in Pretoria, and the Italian Trade Agency.

Also read: Chioma Ogbudimkpa, Nigerian Sustainable Fashion diva to launch “RedXchange”, a digital fashion exchange platform

A group of brilliant South African and Italian young designers were chosen and given training as well as the opportunity to collaborate on a cultural and creative exchange. Their collaboration resulted in a combined capsule collection, which was shown at Milan Fashion Week and SA Fashion Week in 2021.

Sokhulu has since collaborated with Lukhanyo Mdingi on another collection shown at SA Fashion Week sometime in 2022, and she was chosen to participate in the Plain Tiger Sustainability Accelerator, a development programme aimed at providing designers with the knowledge, network, community, and exposure they need to become forerunners in the slow fashion space. Another prominent achievement in Sokhulu’s career is inclusion of her in the Standard Bank Gallery exhibition ‘We Are Culture”, which featured 13 young artists and was organised by creative visionary Bee Diamondhead. “We exhibited fashion with reference to art, the concept we created was called Mvelo,” said Sokhulu.

Going forward: the future perspective

Sokhulu hopes to join the ranks of SA fashion heavyweights i.e., Lukhanyo Mdingi, Rich Mnisi, and Thebe Magugu. The designer stated that she is currently focusing on expanding her team and developing a sustainable business that is more accessible both online and in real retail venues. She hopes to gradually expand and explore her audience outside of South Africa. In terms of Fashion designer’s Legacy, she remarked, “Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu’s mission is to be a womenswear brand that will elevate African fashion and adorn African women.” The future looks bright with talent, passion and creativity for Sokhulu.

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