- Tawile Kumsinda, 16, has been dreaming up clothing styles since she was a kid. / Supplied
- Luzuko Banda is only 11 years old and already has a range on sale at Ackermans. / Supplied
- Ernest Mojela
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An array of youngsters are holding their own in the fashion industry.

With social media influencing their brands, these young people have managed to craft a younger following for themselves, which is arguably the biggest consumer group out there.

These young people prove the biggest deterrent to any form of ageism is excellence - and their success in their respective fields has certainly caught our attention.

Tawile Kumsinda

Fashion designer Tawile Kumsinda, 16, is a fashion designer who has already showcased her collections at various fashion shows.

Originally from Malawi, this high school student says she has had a passion for fashion from the age of seven.

"It's funny actually; a while ago I met one of my teachers from primary school who used to ride with me to school often and she told me that every day on my way to school, I used to draw clothes in the car. And this was when I was around seven years old," says Kumsinda.

"On top of that, I grew up playing 'paper dolls' with my older sister Mphatso, a game we created where we made dolls from paper and made many different paper outfits for them."

Being so young, intimidation is inevitable, but Kumsinda says she takes it all in her stride.

"The fashion industry is the very definition of 'tough and cut-throat'. It is intimidating, so imagine being 14 and venturing into such a scary industry. I think this intimidating nature just has to do with the fact that in the fashion industry there is a lot of competition and, to be honest, if you don't have that 'it factor', the industry just swallows you up and spits you out again. But you would be a fool to allow yourself to actually be intimidated by this. Personally, from day one, I made sure that I believed in myself.

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"I remember in 2015 when I participated in the Fashion Malawi Edition (F.A.M.E.) in an Up and Coming Designer of the Year competition, I was by far the youngest competitor to ever take part. When I sat down and sketched my designs, I did so with the mind-set that I had the potential to be just as successful as designers that were older than me. And I ended up winning," she exclaims.

Her current range is called Tamasuka, which she says is Chichewa (her native language) for "we have been freed".

"It is a reference to the advances that have occurred in terms of gender equality because even though inequality still exists today, Tamasuka aims to celebrate the place we have reached as the female population by showing how strong women are."

She adds the main colours used in the pieces are royal colours, including gold, silver, green and purple, "because, frankly, women are royal".

Her biggest ambition is showcasing at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion week, and she says she is willing to work hard to one day see herself showcasing among Africa's best of the best.

Luzuko Banda

Young stylist and fashion designer Luzuko Banda is just 11.

Winning the Ackermans Fashion Squad competition last year thrust this young man into the spotlight and he has since gone on to do amazing things in the industry.

When we caught up with him, his kiddies range at Ackermans, GenZ, had just hit the shelves and he was overjoyed.

Born and bred in Boksburg, this Grade 6 pupil has achieved something a lot of his peers can only aspire to do, but he says he has always aspired to have a range for teens created by a teen.

"I always go shopping with my mom and I have always liked the idea of a kid making clothes for other kids.

"So when my mom came across the Style Squad Competition I saw it as the perfect opportunity to finally create things that I'd love to wear and kids my age would love, too."

The young fashionista says he cannot pinpoint when his interest in fashion began.

"I can't really say when it all started because fashion is a subject all members of my family are interested in.

"I was always surrounded by talk of trends so eventually I started talking the language of fashion," he says.

Banda describes his aesthetic as a designer as the "three Cs" - comfortable, cool and classic.

"Boys my age run around and play so they need to wear clothing which will allow them to do this, but they also like looking good while doing it.

"My GenZ designs are definitely edgy, ranging from street style to hipster.

"They are versatile too, as you can play around with them and wear them in different ways."

As for being intimidated by older designers and the industry, Banda says he is more curious than anything.

"The fashion industry is growing and will grow along with those who are willing to learn - and I'm up for it."

Ernest Mojela

Young fashion blogger Ernest Mojela is 20, and started blogging when he was in high school.

"We had a group of us that were doing clothing and music and I was their social media guy. This is when I started blogging. And when we all finished high school in 2015, we all went our separate ways but I had already been bitten by the bug and continued since," he says.

Mojela says his blog is about the latest fashion trends, the latest red carpets and celebrity finds.

With a social media following of over 7000, he has managed to find his footing in the competitive blogging world, but admits that he wasn't always so confident.

"I was very intimidated when I first started blogging because I was a young blogger and up against popular bloggers with lots of followers and those who attended the most exclusive events that I could only envy.

"But as time went on, I started branching out and finding my own voice. I now blog, but also do music as well as fashion styling."

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