15 South African Sustainable Fashion Brands That You Need To Know
August 5, 2022
South African fashion has received appreciation from all over the world as new designers advance by merging their African heritage with contemporary trends. These Indigenous designers that effortlessly contribute to pushing the frontiers of African Fashion need a lot more credibility. They compete on international stages, incorporate our traditions and heritage into their work, and create a fashioned expression using African and its cultural ideologies. To celebrate how far South African designers have come in facilitating sustainable transformation in the global fashion business, here are 15 South African sustainable fashion brands that you need to know.
This sustainable clothing company from South Africa aims to produce high-quality, classic apparel that can be worn throughout the year. In order to ensure that you have the ideal fit, Çoise also provides a basic alterations service. The swing tags from this well-crafted brand are created from herb seeds, so you can plant them in your yard and add a little touch of greenery to your life.
The creative mind behind Selfi is Celeste Arendse. Celeste is a Cape Town-based fashion design graduate who launched her first womenswear collection in 2010 after working as a manager for renowned South African fashion house Kluk CGDT. Through its ranges of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, Selfi explores the “multidimensional facets of the self.” The company’s collection of alluring outfits has an emphasis on deconstructed designs, easy, wearable tailoring, and bespoke prints. Since its debut, Selfi has been in shows at Pure London, New York Fashion Week, and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Lukahnyo Mdingi, runs this South African sustainable fashion company of the same name and the brand is renowned for its impeccable attention to detail and ethical manufacturing practices. Mdingi mostly uses natural fabrics available in South Africa, such as wool, silk, and mohair, to make his trans-seasonal clothing. The raw texture of natural fabrics paired with Lukhanyo Mdingi’s rich, earthy color scheme gives his clothing a very opulent appearance.
This family-run fashion brand called TriCitie strives to make impact-free clothing that is inclusive. Danielle Jeneira and Bevan Moses, a sister and brother design team, founded TriCitie as a continuation of the sewing and needlework traditions that their great-grandmother had passed down to them. Their distinctive range of elevated basics is constructed from low-impact materials, using low-waste design techniques, and is created with eco-social responsibility in mind.
The brand is rooted in heritage and built with style, comfort, and longevity in mind. TriCitie chooses to defy seasonal trends by slowly adding to its permanent collection as opposed to launching a brand-new collection each season.
The best way to define Anmari Honiball’s clothing is “playful.” With a focus on comfort and adaptability, Honiball combines patchwork, zero-waste design, and upcycling to produce statement classics with unique embellishments. She creates each piece in her Johannesburg studio with the assistance of her seamstress, Ilona.
The Mbiola siblings, Kabambi, Martine, Tshimaro, and Lucy founded and continue to operate this brand based on the literal meaning of the Swahili proverb, ‘Fuata Moyo’ which translates to “follow your heart”. This family-run firm incorporates slow fashion into everything it does, from refashioning and upcycling clothing to embellishing it with hand-painted artworks and manufacturing new clothes with style And thoughtful tailoring. You may even get artwork painted on one of your clothes as part of a customization service to give it some more flair.
This mother-daughter-owned ethical fashion company called Me&B is headquartered in the center of Cape Town. Me&B was founded in 2018 by mother-daughter team Betina Swart and Kelly Gibberd with the goal of shaking up the local fashion market and offering bright, lively, high-quality clothing at reasonable pricing. Me&B is on a mission to make fashion more inclusive and accessible for everyone with their selection of vibrant colors, quirky prints, and clothing for every season, all of which are brought to life by their wonderful in-house staff.
The goal of Sindiso Khumalo’s name-brand sustainable fashion company, which she founded in 2015, is to produce sustainable apparel that is influenced by African history. Khumalo is a social activist and sustainable textile designer based in Cape Town. She collaborates directly with NGOs and small workshops in South Africa and Burkina Faso to produce one-of-a-kind handwoven and hand-embroidered textiles for her collections, with textiles and craft at the core of each. The hand-drawn and painted themes that Khumalo herself creates are what makes her exquisitely crafted clothing so well-known. These themes are used by Khumalo to tell the tales of remarkable Black women who have been left out of history books.
Sama Sama is a brand that Kimberly Lardner-Burke founded in 2018 with the intention of providing mindful essentials and clothes made to allow movement, unconstrained, and with love for the body. This South African sustainable fashion company, which uses only natural fibers and collaborates with regional fabric suppliers and manufacturing businesses that place a priority on fair pay standards, is driven by ethics and sustainability. Sama Sama is refreshingly open about its commitment to sustainability and its ongoing efforts to create a company that is considerate of both people and the environment.
Daisie Jo makes unique works of wearable art with the idea of leisurely life. Daisie Jo is a gorgeously colorful, quirky, and eco-friendly South African clothing brand that inspires us all to embrace our flaws and humanity by designing clothes that do just that. Fashion is an art form and a vehicle for expression, as evidenced by the striking silhouettes and flawless hand-painted and embroidered accents of this brand. Since each one-of-a-kind garment is handmade at Daisie Jo’s Karoo studio, there is no unnecessary waste or overproduction involved in the production of these timeless, true slow fashion items.
Tshepo Jeans is an ethical South African clothing brand that creates ready-to-wear denim. Tshepo Mohlala, the brand’s founder, was drawn to denim because it is enduring and versatile and because everyone has a story to share about their jeans. Mohlala is a third-generation storyteller. The firm purchases cotton from Zimbabwe, which is then colored in Japan using African-originating indigo dyeing methods. A small group of talented manufacturers and artisans manufacture the jeans on-site at their Johannesburg Atelier. All of the denim offcuts and leftovers are shredded and used to create fresh fabric and thread.
Streetwear now has a whimsical, fun feel thanks to this gender-neutral fashion brand. The provocative use of color and form in U Be You pushes us to view fashion as an artistic medium and supports and promotes a return to the guiding principle of dressing for yourself: if you enjoy it, you should wear it. Instead of using end-of-roll fabric that would normally go to waste, the business uses it to make its distinctive clothing.
In Cape Town’s impoverished areas, these women from Research Unit produce upscale basics using sustainable manufacturing methods. For this South African sustainable apparel company, time spent on research and development is essential. They are able to produce clothing thanks to this methodical, deliberate approach that emphasizes design, innovation, waste reduction, and community empowerment. They think that giving back to their town and preserving its industries and talents must be among the best ways to practice sustainability. Research Unit has also put together a care guide for their clothing to ensure their durability.
Nuun bills itself as an “eco-conscious concept space” and was founded by the mother-and-son team: Zainab and Shaheed Martin. This is a fitting description given that this South African slow fashion company is constantly searching for new ways to address sustainability issues while creating the highest-quality clothing. Nuun’s design philosophy is centered on using locally and ethically produced materials and creating concepts that are sensitive to the environment and have a beneficial social impact. In addition to honoring cultural traditions, Nuun has also been focused on establishing a line of classic essentials.
Uni Form, via its founder, Luke Radloff makes modular, trans-seasonal items with exaggerated silhouettes out of predominantly natural textiles with a priority on quality. The Uni Form fashion brand encourages partnerships that help build a future of sustainable fashion during the production and process. The Wren Design and Barrydale Weavers, two design firms investigating sustainable production in South Africa, are two examples of such collaborations.
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