Nciza Showcases the Pride of Culture Through Fashion
The first female to grace the cover of Forbes Woman Africa, bearer of the SA Trend Setter Award 2014, and first lady of afro pop, Nhlanhla Nciza of the award-winning South African Group Mafikizolo has proved that she is unstoppable. This year she made a much-anticipated comeback to the glamour of the catwalk after a 7-year break from the fashion industry, showcasing her collection ”Evolution.” With the insatiable talent that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is reputable for, this year the only memorable image was that of Nhlanhla. Presenting her Evolution collection under her label NN Vintage, with half of South Africa’s celebrity society, the showcase became viral after only four of the pieces from the collection graced the catwalk. The collection, which got it’s inspiration from ”modern Africa and the ever-evolving vintage fashion,” reflects the growth of Africa and the pride of culture through fashion. She has been named the ”high priestess of the 21st century” in African fashion circles.
Nhlanhla is no stranger to admiration from crowds with her unapologetic sense of style. She bagged the leader board at the BET Music Awards 2014, after making an appearance nothing short of breathtaking. In a generation where designers have been projected as superstars, with names and visuals that reverberate beyond the catwalk, it’s only fitting that Nhlanhla should emerge as a fashion force to be reckoned with. A serious entrepreneur, she has learned to personally direct her team towards a goal she determines – her spoken word is in the collective, as she describes the process of design and manufacturing her clothes. “I designed the whole collection as I discovered working with designers who do not understand the concept can potentially stifle the vision,” she said.
In true homage of Africa’s 54 countries, NN Vintage encompasses fabrics from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and South Africa and also fuses different cultural elements of different countries within their designs. The ”Africanness” of the brand is shown in its diversity, while making it globally acceptable with combinations of leathers, sequins and fur.
NN Vintage has marked a milestone for African Fashion and is set to grace international platforms. For Nciza, designing is not a ”stolen passion,” but one that comes naturally, as seen in the numerous stage outfits she has designed for herself in previous years. The brand is strong, and not only does it produce some well-made products, but its clothes reflect the fashion of the time, rather than defining it. Nhlanhla acknowledges that it’s what the designer chooses to wear herself that matters most. Brand NN Vintage is a profoundly personal endeavor. Ultimately, that’s what’s attracting Nhlanhla’s customers to her above other emerging African designers. Despite focusing on designer ready-to-wear, her brand is perhaps the best — culturally savvy of the moment, with consumers also buying into her personal lifestyle.
Nciza has an interest in the global woman experiencing culture in a dress. Her mission is to empower and make women feel the best version of themselves. She is hell-bent on bringing a new appreciation to how culture is perceived in fashion. As she talks about NN Vintage, you get a heartwarming feeling that she’s talking about herself.