Sindi set to revive African prints
A SNEAK preview of celebrity designer Thula Sindi's show tomorrow night at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa in Melrose Arch reveals that he is going to make a contemporary African statement with bold prints.
Former face of Elizabeth Arden, Lerato Moloi, is expected to headline Sindi's collection, vamping to the late iconic township disco queen Brenda Fassie's evergreen Kutheni.
She is due to be followed by Kenya's overseas-based model Ajuma Nasenyana, who hardly misses walking on our local Fashion Week shows.
Thirteen other top "glamazons" will complete the elite modelling cast.
Most people might have forgotten that Sindi - known for dressing celebrity royalty including Precious Motsepe, Azania Ndoro and Claire Mawisa - once worked at leading African print manufacturer, Dutch wax material company Vlisco, early in his career.
"The last time I did African prints was in 2006," Sindi said this week.
"This collection is more edgy and meant for broader appeal."
African geometric prints came back in a big way in international fashion circles when celebrities such as Beyoncé and her sister Solange Knowles embraced the patterns.
Gwen Stefani's Spring 2012 range, followed by a Burberry Ankara inspired range that dominated both London and New York Fashion Weeks, have given prints a fierce twist.
Ironically, South African designers were once ahead of the curve in leading trends on African prints a few years ago, when labels such as Stoned Cherrie, Bongiwe Walaza and Sun Goddess were feted internationally.
But a new breed of designers - such as Sindi and David Tlale - has redefined South Africa's design, away from the Safari mentality.
Sindi will revive colourful bold African prints which he has printed on various materials such as sequins, embroidered cotton and embossed satin that gives off a luxuriant leather feel and chiffon.
The materials were bought locally and the prints manufactured overseas.
"It was all about decontextualising the fabrics for that rich feel," Sindi said.
He added that bold prints had not necessarily gone out of fashion, but pointed out that international labels and celebs still had the monopoly in influencing global fashion more prominently than local designers.