9 Women-led fashion brands you should know

Munkus collection.

Munkus collection.

Published Aug 7, 2023


Every year in August, South Africa celebrates Women’s Day to pay tribute to more than 20 000 brave women who marched to the Union Buildings on August 9, 1956, to protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women.

This year marks the 67th anniversary of Women’s Day, and to commemorate Women’s Month, we look at some of our favourite women-led fashion brands based in South Africa.

Khosi Nkosi

Owned by Nobukhosi Mukwevho, Khosi Nkosi is a womenswear brand focusing on African prints. It was founded in 2008 after the designer won a Young Designers Competition.

Loved by many successful women, including Nomzamo Mbatha, Khosi Nkosi is available at YDE, a South African chain store dedicated to give young designers a spotlight.

Mukwevho has grown so much as a creative. She was recently invited as a guest judge at Miss South Africa’s Crown Chasers and collaborated with them as the designer behind the “Honouring our Heritage” costumes.

Nobukhosi Mukwevho of Khosi Nkosi. Picture: Supplied.


Established in 2004 by Palesa Mokubung, Mantsho is the first African brand to collaborate with Swedish company H&M on a global scale.

The Mantsho x H&M collection (2019) was available in H&M flagship and online stores worldwide. Mokubung, honoured with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at Free State Fashion Week, is one of the most respected designers.

To give back to the community, she mentored ten up-and-coming designers from the Eastern Cape for Buyelekhaya Fashion Show Festival. Her brand adored by bold women such as Melanie Bala, Margo Faith Fargo, Nambitha Ben-Mazwi and many others.

Mokubung has showcased at many fashion weeks, including SA Fashion Week, BRICS Show, and Africa Fashion Week Middle East.

Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho.

Sindiso Khumalo

Based in Cape Town, Khumalo is a sustainable textile designer. She is passionate about African storytelling using sustainable craftsmanship.

Khumalo has participated in Milan Fashion Week Presentations from 2016-2019. In 2020, she partnered with talented photographer and fashionista Trevor Stuurman to create a stunning Vivo photoshoot.

The work of Sindiso Khumalo. Picture: Trevor Stuurman.

Lara Klawikowski

You cannot speak of sustainability without mentioning Klawikowski.

“Sustainable fashion considers the future of the planet and the people making and wearing the clothes. It’s important to make clothes that people will love, and that will last.

“We need to respect people’s emotional connection to clothes, but also the people who make them, their work environments, their skills and their creative input,” she once said.

The Cape Town-based fashion designer is known for avant-garde designs. Klawikowski designs wearable art - bespoke womenswear handcrafted designs with femininity, edge, and other-worldly beauty. She won the Country Road x Twyg Changemaker Award in 2020.

Sustainable clothing by Lara Klawikowski. Picture: Lizmarie Richardson.


Founded by Hangwani Nengovhela in 2002, Rubicon is one of Gauteng’s most desirable fashion destinations for women who are go-getters.

With over 20 years of experience, Nengovhela has showcased in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, China, Paris and Mozambique. She launched her Spring/Summer 2023 collection at SA Fashion Week in April.

“With this endearing romantic collection, we designed each garment to make the wearer feel emboldened, chic, and in touch with the essence of who she truly is. This is a return to her femininity,” she said.

A Rubicon woman. Picture: Instagram.

Viviers Studio

Owned by Lezanne Viviers, Viviers Studio is a unique fashion brand that celebrates the senses and individuality.

“We pride ourselves in sustainable practice. We aim to minimise textile waste by individually hand-cutting our garments, re-using off-cut fabrics to innovate new Edition 1/1 items, including ‘Dead Stock’ fabrics,” reads the statement from the brand.

Viviers has showcased at the Karoo Winter Wool Festival, Milano Fashion Week and SA Fashion Week.

Viviers Studio garments.


Munkus is a luxury ready-to-wear brand. It is owned by Thando Ntuli, winner of the SA Fashion Week New Talent Search 2022. The designer makes clothes for people with youthful taste who enjoy telling a story through vibrant colours and prints.

“Munkus allows you to identify with your humble beginnings. A link to home and a chance to be bold. A brand that lays between casual and formal. Munkus gives you the tone of voice needed to make your next move,” is the brand’s statement.

Munkus garments.

Ri.Ch Factory

Known for bold African prints and bright colours, Ri.Ch Factory is a contemporary and lifestyle brand founded by Rina Chunga Kutama.

Born in Zambia, raised in Botswana and now residing in South Africa, Kutama’s love for the African continent shines bright on her collections.

Previous Ri.Ch Factory collection. Picture: Supplied.

Cyla Gonsolves

Winner of the Mr Price New Talent Search 2023, Gonsolves launched her brand in 2018. She is known for creating luxury womenswear.

Earlier this year, she launched “No Wasting Wonderland”, a sustainable collection focused on saving the environment.

Gonsolves has participated in “The Intern by David Tlale” and will soon launch a limited edition collection with Mr Price.

The works of Cyla Gonsolves.