30 South African fashion brands you need to know about

Real talk: we should be supporting our local South African designers now more than ever! Whether you’re buying fruit and veg from a community farmer, opting for local art instead of importing that print on Esty or buying that garment that was designed and made by our talented South African designers and artisans. Globalisation is great and all, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be able to survive without my Iphone but it’s about time we get back to our grass roots and start looking at the motherland as first source for our stylish needs. Plus, there are some incredible brands out there that you’ll definitely want in on. Scroll down for some of the South African designers we love.

30 South African designers that we are obsessed with

1 Imprint ZA

Imprint is an African luxury fashion brand that was created more than 5 years ago by Mzukisi Mbane. The brand celebrates glamour through an African lens, with signature details including rich prints and fabrics and bold colours. Their designs also reference specific points in African history to create unique fashion-forward and wearable clothing and accessories. The brand’s ethos: ‘Leave a mark’ AKA you guessed it, an imprint.


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2 FabroSanz

FabroSanz is a fashion house for the stylish modern-day working woman. They design everything from ready-to-wear, office wear and cocktail attire for your happy hour with your girls, all while keeping African fashion at the centre of their designs. Plus, have you seen their printed power suits and tailored separates? Magic.


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3 Maylee

For all the hypebaes this one is for you boo. Maylee is a contemporary womenswear label blurring the lines between streetwear and high fashion. The cool laid back silhouettes in beautiful rich fabrics is what sets the brand apart from the rest.


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4 Chulaap by Chularp Suwannapha

Known as the ‘prince of prints’, Chularp Suwannapha is a fashion designer based in Cape Town, South Africa and born in Thailand. His label is all about celebrating Africa in a unique Thai way.  He mostly works with African wax prints and creates his own one-of-a-kind knits. His work is a maximalist’s dream.


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5 Crystal Birch

Never one to follow the status quo, Crystal Birch AKA the Mad Hatter of hat design is truly a wild visionary like no other. She is a maverick milliner whose wacky hat designs have become beloved adornments on the heads of South Africa’s most fashionable.


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6 Thebe Magugu

This man has brushed shoulders with Gigi and Bella Hadid and also made history as the first African designer to win the LVMH Prize. If anyone should be getting attention, it’s him. Thebe Magugu is a contemporary Johannesburg-based fashion brand focused on sleek, forward-thinking women’s ready to wear fashion, infused with aspects from our continent’s past.


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Read: Thebe Magugu makes history as the first african to WIN the LVMH Prize

7 Rich Mnisi

Rich Mnisi has been in the game since 2015 and boy has he made waves in the fashion industry these past 5 years. He is all about bold expressionism, bright vibrant colours and loud silhouettes. Also, have you seen the man? He is just as gorgeous to look at!


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8 Nao Serati by Neo Serati Mofammere

A contemporary athleisure brand based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The brand specialises in unisex garments that explore the margins of gender, art and sexuality, while bearing in mind their South African heritage. His designs also see unique fabrics such as patent leather and sequins.


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9 Matte Nolim

Everything that Matte Nolim does in our opinion is gold. His imaginative designs are refreshing and cut through the noise. They’re young,  cute and have plenty of personality. Check out the below image from our July issue featuring Sarah Langa wearing his ’70s rainbow power gloves.

Read: Shop the looks from our July style shoot with Sarah Langa


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10 Thalia Strates

Thalia Strates is the queen of leather luxury handbags and accessories. She uses materials that are indigenous to Africa handcrafted in a small workshop in Cape Town. Her team comprises of a 100-percent female team skilled in artisanal methods passed down from generation to generation. Although these handbags are quite pricey they will make for great family heirlooms.


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11 SELFI by Celeste Arendse

Loved by South African cool kids, SELFI is truly a special brand specialising in creating sustainable, bespoke and ethical apparel and accessories. Fun fact: the name SELFI was taken from the word self and motivates self empowerment and self betterment.


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12 MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo

MaXhosa is a South African knitwear brand founded in 2012 with the desire to explore knitwear design solutions that would be suitable for amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). His initial vision was to create a premium modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection that would be suitable for this market and hasn’t looked back! His creations are unlike any knitwear you have ever seen in your life.


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13 Artclub and Friends by Robyn Keyser

Definitely a brand to be on a hypebeast’s radar, Artclub and Friends is a unisex label made in Cape Town. It was created because Robyn wanted to build a brand for artists and the girl has been doing the things. Riky Rick and other celebs are major fans of her designs.


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14 Gert-Johan Coetzee

Known as the right-hand man to all the Mzansi celebs, Gert knows how to make show-stopping OMG ‘time just froze’ couture pieces and high-fashion ready-to-wear garments that look like money, honey.


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15 Viviers by Lezanne Viviers

Viviers pride themselves on creating fashion using sustainable practices and quality materials. They aim to minimise textile waste by individually hand-cutting their garments and re-using fabric off-cuts — talk about a labour of love. They focus on creating trans-seasonal and versatile pieces that are made with integrity.


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16 Lukhanyo Mdingi

We will just start by saying that Lukhanyo Mdingi  has been featured in publications such as Vogue and I-D Magazine. His designs give off the overall effect that he is an artist first and foremost and designer, second. You can tell that every small detail is carefully considered in his designs.


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17 Mmuso Maxwell

Quality, quality and quality is the brand’s main priority! Design duo and founders of Mmuso Maxwell, Mmuso Potsane and Maxwell Boko, strive to create sustainable clothing through the usage of natural and high-quality fabrics. Did we mention that Beyoncé wore their design in her Global Citizen tour to SA?


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18 Biji – La Maison de Couture

Biji is a couture fashion designer daaaarling with queens like Bonang Matheba and Zozi Tunzi wearing their designs (fun fact: Zozi wore their designs the night she was crowned Miss Universe!).  If you want a bespoke wedding gown or magically become a celebrity over night then this is the brand for you!


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19 David Tlale

David Tlale’s couture designs are made to stand out in a crowd and are always elegant and bougie. He is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most loved and established OG designers. Snaps and claps for him.

Read: David Tlale just showcased a *virtual* fashion show – OMG!


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Deck your ears and necks in handmade jewellery by LORNE. This label is changing the perception of what jewellery is, featuring wearable art rather than run-of-the-mill accessories


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21 Kirsten Goss

Fine handmade jewellery made with love in Cape Town is what Kirsten Goss is all about. Her pieces are unique and considered.


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22 Rich Factory by Rina Chunga Kutama

Rich Factory is a vibrant contemporary and lifestyle brand known for their bold and playful designs in their signature African prints. You will feel like you are on a endless vacation wearing one of their designs. Spoiler alert: Their head-turning looks aren’t made for wallflowers.


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23 Quiteria by Quiteria Lebogang Kekana

Quiteria not only showed their collection at Paris Fashion Week but they also dressed Beyoncé for her Global Citizen performance in 2018. Their designs are luxurious and feminine, and according to Beyoncé, great to shake your booty in (jokes, I made that one up).


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24 Sindiso Khumalo

LVMH Prize 2020 finalist Sindiso Khumalo founded her eponymous label with a focus on creating modern and sustainable textiles with a strong emphasis on African storytelling.


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25 Marianne Fassler

Marianne Fassler has been in the business of fashion for over three decades. She can do it all, your wish is her command, her work is always superbly crafted, interesting and comfortable. She appeals to all women who love individuality.


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26 PICHULIK by Katherine-Mary Pichulik

Cape Town based brand PICHULIK specialise in creating unique and ethically-made jewellery and accessories. What makes PICHULIK so special is that each piece of jewellery makes use of locally-sourced products, including their signature re-purposed rope. It’s no wonder Meghan Markle is a fan.


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27 Coast by Amy Scheepers

Coast is a handmade jewellery brand based in Cape Town. The pieces are centered around medallions that have been cast in 9ct gold to bring you luck but also make your outfit look cute!


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28 Bam collective

This brand sparks joy and excitement creating clothes for boundary-pushing South African women, like Sho Madjozi and you of course. Can we just take a moment for this look on the red carpet at the NBA’s this year. I think I have found my outfit for leaving the house when lockdown is over.


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29 Dear Rae by Karin Rae Matthee

Ten years in the making and Dear Rae this is the go-to brand for rings when getting hitched, ppl! Each Dear Rae piece is designed and made by the founder Karin and her hand-picked manufacturers at her Cape Town based studio. The studio and workshop create one space, allowing the ancient art of jewellery making. Cool, where’s my future husband at,  are you taking notes?


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30 Nette Rose

Nette Rose is the go-to brand for delicates and intimates. When it comes to boobs, most commercialised brands have the ‘one size fits all’ approach. Nette Rose, on the other hand, is mindful of the female body and it’s uniqueness, which is why they customise bras to fit you.


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Read: 4 SA style slayers who support local designers

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