Vuyokazi Nghona, founder of Inami Classic.

Vuyokazi Nghona, a mother of two who is a proud Xhosa, is all about ethnic designing. Nghona, 39, fell in love with fashion designing after entering the Vukani Fashion Awards competition in 2001.
She scooped first place and was then approached by Sun Goddess Fashion.

She started at Sun Goddess Fashion as a junior designer and later got promoted to senior designer.

A white and navy-blue dress shows a reflecting twist. 

“While I was studying Kitchen and Food Service, I realised fashion is my calling. I’d been working independently as a stylist until 2009 when I had my first baby. After that I took a few years off to adjust to being a wife and a mum.

“I am now back in the fashion game,” says Nghona.

Given her experience of designing wedding and cultural gowns, she established Inami Classic, which she named after her children.

Pink dress by Inami Classic. 

“Inami Classic is a combination of my children’s names, Emihle and Inathi.”

Nghona’s return to the fashion world was inspired by her loyal clients who wanted her back in business.

With the brand growing and people requesting ready-to-wear garments, Nghona thought of a stylish way to make umbhaco (Xhosa traditional clothes) in a lighter and different way, but still keeping within the traditional way.

Sleepwear has become daywear with Zamaan kimonos

Nghona describes herself as an ethnic-wear lover and she feels that “as Africans, our bead work distinguishes us and our retailing”.

Being Xhosa and doing a whole lot of the weddings and umbhaco, she became more creative by playing around with colours and different styles.

IsiXhosa edge by Inami Classic. 

“I tried finding fabrics that are functional. Cotton and wool work but linen is better because the aim is to keep it nice, straight and solid.

“With umbhaco, a heavy fabric is not easy. You need something light and, for a function, something more flowing without being too stiff. I have been testing and playing around with different fabrics and textures.

“And whatever item of clothing I make, it always includes a beaded embellishment,” Nghona says.

She sees her brand expanding into a full wedding couture brand that includes decor.

Inami Kids swag. 

“I do simple classic traditional looks that are timeless and I think with the added beading edge and the Xhosa trim, I’m making my statement.

“The decor range has been partially established. I’ve always wanted to be a lifestyle brand that includes decor and other things that I am venturing into,” adds Nghona.

Inami Classic is also available in a kids' range as Inami Kids. For more information, contact Inami Classic at @inamiclassic via Instagram.