South Africa’s Ubuntu Project takes London by storm – EVENT report

Posted on September 25, 2011


Ubuntu International Project is an organisation developing, promoting and exporting a new South African design led aesthetic that fuses the techniques and traditions of South Africa with South African contemporary fashion in order to create a unique South African high-end Heritage Brand. Ubuntu is a South African ideology focusing on people’s allegiances and relations with each other. In London, on the 19 th September 2011: Ubuntu International Project, officially launched its three year programme aimed at nurturing and promoting South African design on the international stage.

Vauxhall Fashion Scout logo - SS12

As part of the Ubuntu International Project, South African designers, Stiaan Louw, Heni Este-Hijzen and Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa Knitwear debuted at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, London Fashion Week‟s largest independent showcase. This debut for the three South African designers is intended as the start of the three year programme, showcasing them to an international audience through catwalk shows, presentations, fashion films and exhibitions.

These three designers represented a “South African Fashion Collective that showcases and identifies a unique Pan South African design signature that is in creative process, translatable in an International fashion market” says Theo Omambala of Ubuntu. “An aesthetic that is not geographically confined but can be African and Eurocentric at the same time” according to Errol Hendrickse “The London Fashion Week showcase is geared towards introducing and promoting this aesthetic to the Press, Fashion Industry Movers and Shakers and International Business Community” continues Theo Omambala “we will use the designer‟s unique stories of cultural and artistic influence and inspiration as a collective promotional tool”.

On 19 September 2011, Stiaan, Heni and Laduma kicked off the second week of the London Fashion Week to a global audience of media, buyers, celebrities and style leaders.

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Stiaan Louw, a graduate from Haute Couture School Of Fashion Design, showcased his fantastic collection: soft cottons married with a warrior look, draped and layered with earthy coloured textiles. Typical Louw‟s style, classic but with a twist; and all natural fibre.

Laduma MaXhosa introduced MaXhosa knitwear as part of his Xhosa-inspired range. Laduma, originally taught to knit by his grandmother and a graduate from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, has already received rave reviews from leading fashion designers. At Vauxhall Fashion Scout, Laduma showcased his incredible knitting and design skills in collaboration with jewellery-beadwork from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.

Heni Este-Hijzen, graduated from London International School of Fashion in 2002. In true Heni style, known as the “master of thrills and frills‟, he showcased his collection of opulent high fashion  with a collection of couture design, perfectly crafted. Heni pushes the boundaries of the South African design aesthetic with his lavish display of expressionism.

Errol Hendrickse, originally from South Africa, and now living in London with Theo Omambala, who has been prominent in the South African fashion industry for the last five years, founded Ubuntu International two years ago, as an initiative focusing on growing talent from emerging markets across the globe. “We realised there was a gap within the market in terms of a South African design aesthetic,” says Hendrickse, “The world is desperate for a new design aesthetic as everything is so diluted on the global creative stage. “We felt that Vauxhall Fashion Scout was the perfect partner and platform for us to showcase the new design aesthetic via our selected designers” concludes Theo.

At AfricaFashionGuide we are excited by projects that create a positive outlet for contemporary African fashion and believe this project is doing just that. We are very much looking forward to the next set of designers who the Ubuntu International Project will bring to london for next seasons fashion week!

(all images unless stated are courtesy of Abi Oshodi  of AO-Photography)

see more images from our facebook abum.

For further information contact:

Ubuntu International Project
Founding Members Errol Hendrickse Theo Omambala
Public Relations, Marius Maritz +44 (0) 20 8980 9299

Posted in: Fashion