17 South African fashion designers you should be following

17 South African fashion designers you should be following

In a world where westernisation is taking a toll on the existence of most cultures, South African fashion designers have stood against all the odds to bring out South African designs to the world, and they have broken the waves in the very competitive industry. They are the minds behind the beautiful prints and good-quality fabrics that most of us enjoy.

South African fashion designers
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

For years, African fashion has earned popularity in most western countries and beyond. This is a result of how unique the prints and fabrics of the clothes are. This is one of the reasons that has kept African culture alive. These are the best South African designers setting the pace in the industry.

South African fashion designers

Who is the best fashion designer in South Africa? If you are a fashion fanatic, these are the icons that you should have your eyes focused on. These best fashion designers in South Africa are listed in no particular order.

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1. Anisa Mpungwe

local fashion designers in Johannesburg
Anisa Mpungwe backstage at the Arise Magazine African Collective Fall 2010 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Tent in New York City. Photo: Jason Kempin
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: Anissa Mpungwe Atelier (previously known as Loin Cloth and Ashes)

Born in Tanzania, Anisa was raised in South Africa, and she took advantage of the opportunities in the country to build her brand in the design industry.

As young as 19, she was already up building her career. She started working for various fashion magazines, houses, and factories. This helped her groom her skills.

She has showcased her work in various fashion weeks on multiple platforms in Mozambique, New York, Italy, and Sweden, to mention a few.

2. Nkhensani Nkosi

best fashion designers in south africa
Nkhensani Nkosi, a celebrated fashion designer, talks to clients on her mobile phone in her studios in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Per-Anders Pettersson
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: Stoned Cherrie

Nkhensani became a household name because of her flourishing career in the arts. She is a coveted designer and an accomplished actress and TV personnel.

Nkhensani Nkosi is the brains behind Stoned Cherrie, which she brought into existence in 2000 and is currently among the award-winning clothing labels in South Africa.

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3. Linda Gale

South African fashion designers
Two models in Linda Gale's fashion designs. Photo: @SouthAfricanFashionDesigners
Source: UGC
  • Brand name: Stitch & Steel

Linda is among the top designers in South Africa who is making the most of coming up with Afrobougee quirky items. Her first visit to Malawi greatly influenced her style.

She expresses her love for African fashion in unique and high-quality fabric feminine clothing. She has also done a couple of male pieces, even though her primary focus is on feminine outfits.

Linda's style incorporates a striking array of brightly-coloured fabrics that bring out African feminine beauty.

4. Jacques van der Watt

local designers
The Jacques van der Watt fashion designs. Photo: @blackcoffeefashionza (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Brand name: Black Coffee

Jacques van der Watt interestingly plays around with the traditional South African pattern in modern art to come up with some of the most unique and fashionable pieces.

He was among the SA fashion week designers that took part in the edition of the event in 1999, which greatly influenced the birth of the Black Coffee brand.

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5. Marianne Fassler

top designers in south africa
Marianne Fassler at the Africa Fashion International - Joburg Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: Leopard Frock

Marianne Fassler is one of the famous designers, as she has been in the industry for nearly three decades. She runs her business from her workshop in Leopard Frock Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

She has diversified her style by coming up with outfits that can serve several occasions to make the most sophisticated wedding dresses.

6. David Tlale

local designers
South African fashion designer David Tlale poses in his studio in Maboneng, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Miora Rajaonary
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: David Tlale

David Tlale is another big name in the list of fashion designers in South Africa. His work was showcased on different platforms, including the Cape Town Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, and New York Fashion Week.

His brand grew amidst the challenges and uncertainties in the industry thanks to his elegance regarding style. David Tlale is one of the exceptionally bold styles in the country.

7. Palesa Mokubung

leigh schubert
Palesa Mantsho Mokubung at the SA Fashion Week SS21 Digital Collections at the Mall of Africa in Midrand, South Africa. Photo: Oupa Bopape
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: Mantsho

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Palesa Mokubung has set the trend for the country to develop one of the most marketable fashion brands, Mantsho. Her achievements are greatly attributed to her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fashion Design, her entrepreneurial nature and passion for the art.

8. Mzukisi Mbane

  • Brand name: Swagger Diaries

Mzukisi Mbane is another icon-setting trend in Cape Town's industry. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Commerce and chose to follow his passion and establish his brand, Swagger Diaries, in 2011.

Swagger Diaries is a brand of a kind as it aims to narrate African ancestors' tales through fabric designs and unique prints. The brand has diversified to work on shoes and some fantastic accessories.

9. Wandile Zondo

  • Brand name: Thesis Lifestyle

Wandile Zondo hails from Soweto and got into the world of fashion as an entrepreneur. He co-founded a brand called Thesis Lifestyle. His aim in joining the industry in 2005 was to change the clothing retail in the shops in Soweto.

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He used the experience he had gained while working at Edgars to partner with Galebowe Mahlatsi to start their brand. The two have since then not looked back.

10. Thula Sindi

famous designers
Thula Sindi during the Africa Rise Retail Concept Store launch at the Sandton City mall in Sandton, South Africa. Photo: Oupa Bopape
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: Thula Sindi designs

Thula Sindi has a fashion background as an alumnus of the London International School of Fashion. He is one of the most promising SA designers because of his wealth of experience working with a textile company that prompted him to work on his brand.

11. Bongiwe Walaza

famous designers
Models showcasing various Bongiwe's designs. Photo: @bongiwewalaza (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Brand name: Bongiwe Walaza designs

Bongiwe Walaza learnt fashion skills from her mother, who was a seamstress. She perfected it and became the international designer she is. She has worked with textile companies like Da Gama textiles, which is notable for producing shweshwe fabric.

12. Cari Stephenson

top designers in South Africa
Models showcasing Cari Stephenson's fashions. Photo: @tart_clothing (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Brand name: Tart

Cari Stephenson is another designer based in Cape Town and the brains behind Tart designs. Her style differs slightly from the rest as she expresses her creativity through ethnic prints and classic silhouettes.

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The best term that could be used to describe her style is simple but sophisticated. The other thing that makes the line stand out is its eclectic colour scheme.

13. Laduma Ngxokolo

best fashion designers in south africa
Laduma Ngxokolo during the 3rd Annual GQ Men Of The Year Awards at Four Seasons Hotel in Johannesburg, South Arica. Photo: Oupa Bopape
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: MaXhosa Africa

Laduma hails from the Xhosa community, and as a result, he draws inspiration for his style from his cultural background. His style is distinct as it comes out in abstract patterns in his knitwear.

His brand already has a global following, including several Black Panther cast members who wore MaXhosa's designs to the film's world premiere.

14. Michelle Ludek

  • Brand name: Michelle Ludek

Michelle Ludek is another icon in the list of the best fashion designers in South Africa. She has a history in North America, where she earned her skill in commercial fashion design. Her style stands out, from netty sweaters to lazy shift dresses.

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15. Leigh Schubert

best fashion designers in South Africa
Models in Leigh Schubert's fashion designs. Photo: @leighschubert (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Brand name: Leigh Schubert

Leigh Schubert was born and raised in Durban before moving to Johannesburg in her teens. She creates one-of-a-kind yet timeless smart and casual wear with bold colours and modern solid lines.

Her designs have appeared at Australian Fashion Week, South African Fashion Week, Cape Town Fashion Week, Joburg Fashion Week, Durban Fashion Week, and The Durban Fashion Fair.

16. Thebe Magugu

local fashion designers in johannesburg
Thebe Magugu attends the Fashion Trust Arabia Prize 2022 Awards Ceremony at The National Museum of Qatar in Doha, Qatar. Photo: David M. Benett
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: Thebe Magugu

Thebe is among the famous local fashion designers in Johannesburg who was born in Kimberley. He rose to prominence as the 2019 LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize winner. Magugu has collaborated on several capsule collections with international brands such as Dior, Adidas, and AZ Factory.

17. Gert Johan Coetzee

top designers in south africa
Gert Johan Coetzee during the Gert Johan Coetzee 2021 collection viewing in Johannesburg, South Africa.Photo: Oupa Bopape
Source: Getty Images
  • Brand name: Gert Johan Coetzee

Gert's fashion atelier is located in Linden, Johannesburg, Gauteng. He is known for his couture red carpet gowns, but he also designs a ready-to-wear collection. He also dedicates each collection to a particular social cause to draw attention to social problems.

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Is fashion design a good career in South Africa?

Fashion design is a fantastic career that exposes students to a world beyond fashion. Some of the advantages of these careers include expanding your network and providing you with personal growth and confidence.

These are some of the most influential South African fashion designers breaking the waves in the art to create unique pieces. Some have worked on hippie clothing in South Africa, whereas others have let comfort dictate their style.

READ ALSO: Top 20 most famous South Africans of all time: who are they?

Briefly.co.za recently published an article highlighting the top 20 most famous South Africans of all time. South Africa has produced world-renowned celebrities and famous people, ranging from Nobel Prize winners to comedians, actors, and even athletes.

Many icons have left an indelible mark on South Africa and its people. These South African heroes and heroines come from all walks of life and represent the best of the country's culture.

Source: Briefly News

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