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Africa, It's Your Time

Fashion without borders

BY Sinazo Mkoko

Mar 18, 2022, 02:47 PM

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A fashion and lifestyle movement, Fashion Without Borders showcasing and up-lifting Africa's young Fashion Designers and new faces Models is set to take place from 24 to 26 of March. 

The aim of this movement is to assist communities in their effort to provide women and youth with skills and motivation to participate in the socio and economic development and diversification in the disadvantaged areas around Johannesburg and the rest of the continent.

Forming part of this movement is Sphelele Nozipho Chikowi, a young fashion designer from Johannesburg who’s passionate about fashion design

Chikowi is a self-taught designer and the brains behind Ntozinhle Lifestyle -an African-inspired fashion, accessories and homeware brand. She has created job opportunities for 50 women who create beadwork pieces and young men who work as leather craftsmen. 

“The primary focus is on contemporary beadwork and is inspired by the Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa, and Vendas’s use of the craft.”

The brand has a unique story and was founded under different circumstances. She designed clothing and did beadwork and costume jewellery as a side hustle. However, after an accident that left her unable to walk or speak, Siphelele embarked on a new journey by starting Ntozinhle Lifestyle. 

Two years into the business, she embraced her passion for beadwork and took it to a new level. One of her missions was to make pieces that are not only used for traditional ceremonies but stylish and modern pieces. 

Today, she describes her current design aesthetic as bold “Africa your time is Now” and flips the script on how ordinary people view beadwork and African designs; from thinking of it as only used for traditional ceremonies, to stylish and elegant designs. 

“My creations are meticulously handcrafted, using the best quality materials. The primary focus is on contemporary beadwork and is inspired by the Ndebele, Zulu, Xhosa, and Vendas’s use of the craft. With an African contemporary flair, the clothing is designed for women who embrace the uniqueness of African culture.”

With the support from brands such as Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Avon, BLM Naturals, LeAfrika, and others, this year’s installation of Fashion Without Borders Africa promises to be more than just a fashion show, but also a lifestyle event that includes pop-up stalls, industry-related workshops, and opportunities that will allow people to interact with both local and SADC region designers.

Sphelele forms part of a blend of new talent, emerging and established names, with a talent list that includes talented designers such as Refilwe Elliot, Rachel Olombe, Siphokazi Mzekandaba, Eva Kirsten, Thoko Kunene, and many other fashion designers from across the continent.

Read more: Traditional attire's modern aesthetic is catching on