If you're even vaguely familiar with the local fashion and design scene, you'll know the name Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa by Laduma. This phenomenal designer's premium Xhosa-inspired knitwear products have received global acclaim and have placed a slice of South African culture on international catwalks. Over and over again, he has turned the world's eyes to the South African creative scene, and now he's doing it again, only in quite a different way.
That is, the colour and pattern visionary has collaborated with prestigious global whisky brand Chivas Regal to design the limited edition packaging for their 18-year-old Scotch whisky, which was launched at the 2016 Design Indaba on 17 February. In the past, the brand has approached the likes of Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood to take on this privilege, so the fact that they're now looking to a local creative shows that there's a growing recognition that what we produce on home soil does have the potential to stand up next to the greatest of the greats. And we must say, as proponents of the local design industry, it makes us incredibly proud.
Laduma Ngxokolo (pictured left) original vision was to create premium knitwear inspired by traditional Xhosa patterns, colours and symbols that would be appropriate for Xhosa men after initiation. He has now grown a brand that is adored locally and across the waters too.
Chivas Regal apparently chose Laduma because of his honest, chivalrous approach to business, his dedication to community upliftment and his devotion to safeguarding and promoting his culture and heritage. Of course, they could also rest assured that they would get an exceptional design, and that's precisely what they received.
The finished product is a bold, beautiful, deep blue work of art, featuring the iconic X motif (this time in gold) that appears in many of Laduma's knitted men's wear designs and references patterns found in traditional Xhosa beadwork. It says a lot about his remarkable ability to create chic, cosmopolitan products that have a meaningful heritage at their core.
The MaXhosa by Laduma shawl that won the title of Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2016 Design Indaba.
Come February, it's already been a stellar year for this design genius – it was announced on 19 February at the Design Indaba that his shawl won the prestigious title of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2016.
We have no doubt the rest of 2016 holds similar great things for him, and by extension for the South African design world.
Watch out for his limited edition Chivas Regal packaging, which will be available for purchase at selected stores in March.