Thu Oct 20 21:54:38 SAST 2016

Madyibi's range of excellence

By unknown | Feb 07, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

They are subtle, beautiful, clean and pure.

Whether it's a casual jacket, a dress for a fuller figure or just a skirt, it just screams excellence.

Asanda Madyibi's work is a reflection of meticulous construction and subtle details.

After spending two-and-a half years designing under Sonwabile Ndamase, a designer guru who became famous for creating the Madiba shirts, Madyibi landed a job at Sun Goddess, where she spent three years working as a head designer.

As a creative and dynamic designer, Madyibi's tenure at Sun Goddess helped the brand move from traditional A-line skirts and bustier to a luxury brand with more diverse women's wear.

Driven by a desire to make her own name, Madyibi, 31, left Sun Goddess and used the experience she gained from various fashion houses to launch Ummi Lifestyle, a clothing label for Mzansi residents.

"I had to leave Sun Goddess and be on my own. It was a lot of responsibility. After working hard for someone else you want to break free and do your own thing," she says.

Madyibi's passion for designing started at a young age when she spent her free time cutting patterns from dressmaking magazines and then sketched and sewed dresses for herself.

"I guess that's how it all started," she says.

Madyibi hopes that her company, established last year, will give her more staying power than what she refers to as star power.

"The aim is to make Ummi Lifestyle synonymous with modernism and luxury. Ummi Lifestyle came about after I noticed a gap in the industry. Up until Ummi, there was not a single affordable South African range that could be worn by anyone, black or white. I wanted people to come to Ummi and find exclusive and affordable South African clothes they cannot find anywhere else. Many designers are concentrating on luxury brands. It's time that we made an affordable brand that is proudly South African."

Madyibi is concerned about the mischief in the South African fashion industry.

"This is a dog-eat-dog industry. Being a young black woman amid heavyweight designers is not easy. There is a lot of competition and jealousy. Many leaders in the industry are threatened by young and up-and-coming designers, hence the frustration," she says.

Madyibi says the most hurtful thing that can ever happen to young designers is when they do not get acknowledgment for their hard work and beautiful creations.

"Usually the bosses get all the credit and designers are hardly mentioned," she ventures.


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