Abantu Blends Culture and Style at Joburg Fashion Week 2023

Abantu Blends Culture and Style at Joburg Fashion Week 2023

Ranji Mangcu

Titled Ihombo, AFI Fastrack 2023 finalist Abantu’s Joburg Fashion Week capsule collection builds a timeless and elevated wardrobe for each day of the week.  

True to the label’s mission to “elevate culture”, designer Thandazani Nofingxana of Abantu presented a collection that was simultaneously grounded in the designer’s Xhosa heritage, and an exploration of Yoruba decorative arts, including traditional beaded chairs and royal hats.  


Through the dual heritage of Tayira – the fictional advertising professional at the centre of the emerging brand’s buyer profile – Abantu’s Joburg Fashion Week capsule collection emphasised the connection between culture and contemporary style, blending the decorative motifs of Yoruba beadwork with IsiXhosa mythologies.  

From her work to her personal life, Tayira is committed to making a statement with her style. 


As per his signature, Nofingxana led with his textile-design expertise, incorporating distinct, decorative prints in knit and cotton pieces throughout the collection. 


Opening the show with a playful contrast, the first look featured a cropped cotton turtleneck splashed with a digital print, tucked into high-waisted, flared pants.

The second ensemble shifted gears, offering a cozy jacquard-knit sweater vest with a digital motif worn over a knee-length pencil skirt.

Finally, the collection embraced bold colour and texture with a knit kimono in red, blue, and beige draped over a mini dress that highlighted the digital print. 

Nofingxana's capsule collection showcased the perfect blend of traditional culture and contemporary style. The use of bold colors and textures in knit and cotton pieces, along with playful contrasts between digital prints and traditional silhouettes, is a testament to Nofingxana's textile-design expertise.  

With each piece making a bold statement, the collection is about fashion as a medium for embracing one's heritage and individuality. It will be interesting to see how this innovative and culturally rich collection influences Nofingxana’s future work.  

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