A fashionably eco-friendly business

Ntokozo Ndimande, founder of Reign fashion label.
Ntokozo Ndimande, founder of Reign fashion label.
Image: Fetola

Reign is a fashion label that designs bespoke and gender-neutral clothing made from ethically sourced materials and cotton.

Ntokozo Ndimande, the founder of this business is making bold moves towards saving the environment and reducing wastage through fashion.

Environmentally conscious clients have welcomed Reign’s eco-friendly brand and business has been growing at a steady pace since it was started in 2018.

Over the years, Ntokozo and his team have showcased their designs on runways at SA Fashion Week, for four years in a row. “I became a fashion entrepreneur after discovering a gap in the market for tailored designer clothes that reduce wastage,” he says

The Durban based fashion business designs androgynous and high-end garments as well as athleisure and streetwear clothes.

“Our goal is to design gender neutral clothes so we can overcome the challenge of overproduction in the fashion industry,” he says.

They also offer personalised designs tailored to suit a customer's unique requirements as well as ready-to-wear garments from their seasonal collections.

Running a profitable fashion brand while making environmentally ethical business decisions is a skill that Ntokozo is mastering. When clients come to him with a design, he ensures there is transparency from designing, sourcing, and manufacturing.

“I do this to reassure my clients that our fashion label is indeed eco-friendly,” he says. Customers often want a guarantee that they are spending their money on an ethical brand.

Reign has a zero-waste policy, and nothing is thrown away because left over materials and cotton is used to make clothes. “Everything we use to make our clothes is locally and sustainably sourced,” he says.  

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. Reign’s environmentally conscious business model is playing a vital role in making a positive change in reducing pollution.

Covid19 came with lessons on adaptability for the Durban University of Technology fashion design and textile graduate. He had to respond to changes quickly and effectively. 

“The pandemic made us aware that we need to expand, and we are currently working towards having a wider range of stockists who can sell our designs in their physical and online stores,” he says.

Profits were affected by lockdown restrictions that closed social and entertainment events. Most of Ntokozo’s clients need high end garments for events and when these were closed, the business did not get a lot of clients which led to a decrease in profits.

By making gender neutral clothes, Reign also tackles wastage because their designs can be worn by men and women. “Our vision is to inspire people to wear eco-friendly and unisex clothes that do not lead to wastage and pollution,” he says.  

The fashion brand also has plans to open retail stores in commercial spaces to stock clothing made by designers with sustainable business models.

South Africa’s circular fashion industry is still in the early stages and there is a need for more eco-friendly business models.  

The reduce, reuse, and recycle movement is growing across the world and everyone must play their part to save the damage being done to the environment.