Those who are active followers of the South African designers and the local fashion scene will know all about Sandile Mlambo, the founder of House of Alfalfa.
The Mtubatuba, KZN-born and self-taught fashion designer has been dressing women for a decade and has showcased in a number of fashion weeks around the country as well as London and Milan. His aesthetic is feminine dresses that come in bold prints, muted tones and sometimes in pure white.
His latest showcase at the SA Fashion Week (SAFW) in Sandton City held last weekend won him a prestigious award. Mlambo’s debut menswear collection, “Kumkani Bespoke” won him the 2018 SA Fashion Week’s MINI Scouting Menswear Competition, which is held in association with GQ South Africa. Competing against established and newcomers in menswear designing, Mlambo’s collection impressed with monochrome meets a pop of red. The prints are in a zebra, geometrics and the traditional sangoma (traditional healer) prints.
Why the move from House of Alfalfa to Kumkani Bespoke? Kumkani Bespoke is a menswear brand under the House of Alfalfa brand, so it’s not a move but an extension of the brand.
Is there a special reason behind the naming of your menswear brand “Kumkani Bespoke”? Yes Kumkani means “King” in Nguni. Because our slogans are Made in Africa and are fit for African kings. My aim for the brand to be menswear royalty in South Africa and Africa as a whole eventually.
Please tell us the story behind the collection, how you put it together and the prints that you used? The collection is called “The African Samurai”. The designs are inspired by Japanese Samurai Warriors, as you will notice the shapes, the draped pants and kimonos. With the prints came the African influence, and then the floral chiffon shirts to keep it modern and international. I used the sangoma prints to touch on the spiritual side of the African warrior part of the “Samurai” also to add boldness and uniqueness to the collection
What does winning the title of 2018 SAFW MINI Scouting Menswear designer mean to you? Winning this title, as shocking as it still is, is an amazing opportunity to launch the brand on different amazing platforms, such as SA Fashion Week to start with. The publicity that comes with the win sort of puts the brand at a certain level that I was hoping to launch it at. Plus I get to attend the next Pitti Uomo in Italy (a menswear focused fashion week in Florence) where I will be showing it off by wearing it to every show.
Where can we shop your brand? Just like the name says, we want to keep it strictly bespoke.
* The clothes are only made to order via [email protected] or via instagram @kumkanibespoke People can also visit our Maboneng Studio or we will come to you.