Award-winning fashion designer, Loice Dube on taking her career to new heights

A Lo’ice design on the runway. Picture: Vine Imagery.

A Lo’ice design on the runway. Picture: Vine Imagery.

Published Jun 26, 2024


Loice Dube is thrilled to be African Fashion International’s (AFI) Fastrack Prize Young Designer of the Year 2023.

The Johannesburg-based designer is the founder of the womenswear fashion label, Lo’ice, which she established in 2015. This label has earned widespread praise for its highly sophisticated blend of streetwear and high-fashion.

And as the AFI winner, Dube received a prize package valued at R150 000 which also includes mentorship at the esteemed AFI Privé Atelier.

She described this victory as one of the best experiences in her career as a fashion designer so far.

“The AFI Fastrak program was an incredibly enriching experience,” Dube told Independent Media Lifestyle.

“It was a transformative journey that pushed me in ways I never anticipated.”

As part of the competition, AFI, which was founded by Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe and has since emerged as one of the leading fashion authorities on the African continent, provided mentorship to emerging designers such as Dube.

She said that that she enjoyed every moment of this experience, which also includes rigorous training sessions and she believes that her time spent with the organisation will help her to grow and sustain her brand.

"The program is demanding and makes you confront your strengths and weaknesses head-on, compelling you to dig deep and truly understand your craft,“ Dube explained.

“It’s not just about learning, it’s about mastering and harnessing your unique talents in a way that sets you apart in the industry. I’m walking away with a renewed sense of purpose and a tool kit that I know will be crucial for my future endeavours.”

Sidlu’kotini by Lo’ice. Picture: Supplied.

Dube, who is still delighted about winning the competition, said it’s not just an achievement, but also a great opportunity to expand her brand.

“Winning the competition is validation that the brand has a place in the market,” she said.

“This win means I will have increased credibility and visibility, which will increase consumer interest towards my brand. It’s a game changer that can put my brand to greater heights.”

Her winning collection titled “Sildu’kotini”, is a celebration of 30 years of fashion freedom. It was inspired by early South African hip hop and the local artists who influenced the genre and paved the way for the current rappers.

“This collection pays homage to the golden age of hip hop in South Africa from the early to late 2000s,” Dube explained.

“That era was a time of immense cultural transformation, where artists like Pro Kid, Skwatta Kamp and HHP not only embraced American hip hop fashion, but infused it with South African cultural elements, creating a distinctive and powerful aesthetic.”

She added: “The collection prominently features versatile clothing items inspired by clothing worn during that era. The clothes feature custom Lo’ice prints inspired by local cultural elements. ‘Sidlu’kotini’ is a tribute to a transformative era that celebrated the freedom of expression.”

Loice Dube (seated) with her muse. Supplied image.

On what’s next for Lo’ice, Dube said: “This is only the beginning of a new era for me as a designer and for the brand."

“I’m excited to dive into the industry with a new set of eyes. The plan is to explain my brand, explore new markets and enhance accessibility for our customers. We aim to create space to interact with customers and allow them to engage with our product firsthand.”

Meanwhile, Moloi-Motsepe, who is also the AFI executive chair, recognised Dube and other designers such as Thandazani Nofingxana (Eastern Cape) of ABANTU and Kgotsofalo Monyamate (Gauteng) of Articles From Mars, for Craftsmanship and Creativity & Innovation, for the competition.

"I am thrilled for the winner, special prize recipients and all finalists,“ she said.

“Their talent and creativity are truly exceptional. I extend my gratitude to the judges for their expertise and valuable contributions to the AFI Fastrack Prize,” said Dr Moloi-Motsepe.