Designs, from left, by MmusoMaxwell, Judith Atelier and Lukhanyo Mdingi. Image via Eunice Driver Photography

SA’s diamond fibre of mohair shines at South African Fashion Week

Mohair is for far more than blankets and scarves, as seen at South African Fashion Week (SAFW) in the Diamond Fibre Collections last week.


Designs, from left, by MmusoMaxwell, Judith Atelier and Lukhanyo Mdingi. Image via Eunice Driver Photography

Designers MmusoMaxwell, Judith Atelier and Lukhanyo Mdingi celebrated the luxury and versatility of mohair, known as the diamond fibre for its strength and beauty, their new collections.

The South African Mohair Cluster presented the three ranges in partnership with SAFW at the TenTwentyTwenty Digital Collections on Thursday night 22 October in Johannesburg.

Due to the pandemic, SAFW was held online, in conjunction with the Mall of Africa in Midrand.

MmusoMaxwell at SAFW

Mmoso Potsane and Maxwell Boko make up MmusoMaxwell, a high-end, ready-to-wear fashion range based in Johannesburg.

The say their African heritage inspires their womenswear range, as well as contemporary culture and what women need today.

“This season we wanted to challenge the narrative of a women’s place in society, especially in African cultures,” the duo said of their new Imbokodo range.

And shades of mustard, navy and teal in long, lean silhouettes made this a wearable yet modern collection.

Career women on the move

Sharp, structured suits and asymmetrical skirts showed gorgeous tailoring, ideal for career women on the move.

“We dove into the world of cultural influenced women living in a modern space, woman who encompass domestic features and in spite of patriarchal notions can still hold primary positions in business, politics and society,” the designers said.

Sustainable production processes, natural and high-quality fabrics and beautiful detailing are part of their ethos. Their spring/summer 2021 collection featured wool, kid mohair and other fabrics.

Design by MmusoMaxwell. Image via Eunice Driver Photography

Judith Atelier

Cape Town’s Judith Atelier is the creation of Judith Smit, who started the label in a gentle nod to her grandmother. Smit says her grandmother, also named Judith, inspired her ethos of empowering women through her work.

She says the story-telling of South Africa, everyday people, photography, nature, landscapes and textures influence her style.

Back-to-earth and ultra-feminine

The womenswear label is opened with an ultra-feminine red showstopper that heralded a mixture of garments using mohair and other fabrics.

Softly belted dresses put an accent on comfort and ease and, despite the frills and ruffles, it was still a clean, back-to-earth collection.

Fluid lines with dipped hems and off-the-shoulder dresses gave more than a hint of skin.

Design by Judith Atelier. Image via Eunice Driver Photography

Lukhanyo Mdingi at SAFW

Lukhanyo Mdingi was the third and final designer in the Diamond Fibre line-up on Thursday night.

The East London-born artist says he has a keen interest in responsible design and a spirit of collaboration.

Mdingi works with select artisans to source and create unique textiles for both men and women’s garments.

There was an almost-edible chocolate-brown wool and mohair throw, for example, which men and women can wear.

From New York Fashion Week to SAFW

For his Diamond Fibre Collection, Mdingi offered sheer blouses in dip-dyed shades contrasted with business-like pants.

There were chunky felted jackets and waistcoats suitable for winter, along with summer men’s and women’s blazers in a lighter fabrics in shades of cream and mahogany.

With several collections under his belt, Mdingi also took part in New York Fashion Week: Men’s and Women’s Fall/Winter 2019.

The three collections all featured a range of materials, but the spotlight was undoubtedly on the diamond fibre of mohair.

Design by Lukhanyo Mdingi. Image via Eunice Driver Photography

SAFW designer lineup

Now in its 23rd year, the online SAFW event featured 27 designers showing new ranges until Saturday evening.

Friday night’s lineup included Mantsho and Rubicon, followed by The Bam Collective, Cindy Mfabe, Ezoketho and Chiefs of Angels. Lunar and Lucent rounded off the night in collaboration with Cape Wools SA.

Saturday’s shows started off with the SA Fashion Week Scouting Menswear Competition, followed by Artclub and Friends, and BLVNK. Ephymol, Franc Elis and Naked Ape.

Gert-Johan Coetzee kicked off the event on Thursday night, followed by the Diamond Fibre Collections and then Research Unit, Ekta and Helon Melon.

As well as SAFW, the SAFW Trade Show will feature the work of 50 designers at the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa from 1 to 3 November.