Mimangaliso Ndiko AFI Fastrack Prize finalists

How AFI Fastrack Empowered Mimangaliso Ndiko of SIXX 6

Buhle Mbonambi

Mimangaliso Ndiko, the creative mind behind SIXX 6, isn't afraid to play with his clothes. Detachable features, transformative silhouettes – his garments are more than just fabric; they're canvases for personal expression. 

Ahead of the announcement of the AFI Fastrack Prize winner June 21st announcement, we spoke with Ndiko to hear how Fastrack pushed him beyond the realm of design, and into the heart of his biggest challenges.

Before entering the AFI Fastrack Prize, what were your biggest challenges as a designer?

One of my biggest challenges were developing a relationship with my consumers. Every time I’d meet people they’d think I’m an intern for Sixx6, or rather not even know the face behind the brand. AFI Fastrack has emphasised storytelling through all the social media practices. The interviews that were required from us have really helped put a face to my brand and help connect me to my desired target audience.

Throughout the competition, you've received mentorship and feedback. Can you share a specific instance where this guidance pushed your creative boundaries and resulted in a design breakthrough?

I think with this final challenge. To be honest, I had not really created my Joburg Fashion Week collection to the best of my ability, but this time around with it has been all about a dedication to quality.  That is the main statement ringing in my mind we come to the of AFI Fastrack.

SIXX6 Joburg Fashion Week

African fashion is known for its rich heritage and cultural influences. How have you incorporated this aspect into your final collection for the AFI Fastrack Prize, and how does it reflect your unique design identity

From the theme “30 Years of Fashion Freedom” I decided to create a Corporate-Core influenced collection as a celebration of a time where African people were finally allowed to penetrate into spaces they were once restricted from entering.

I was inspired by an era where the faces of successful people were more diverse, where so-called Black Diamonds were a topic of conversation. I have made sure I still maintain aspects of SIXX 6, telling a familiar South African story that resonates with the masses but also appeals to a global consumer.

Can you describe a collaboration you fostered or an aspect of Fastrack that encouraged teamwork. How did this impact your approach to design?

I’ve always made it my goal to collaborate with designers who are starting out just like me. From my very first collection where I collaborated with graduate fine artists for my print; Cape Town Fashion Week where I collaborated with leathergoods brand St Reign for accessories; The Comfort  Challenge during Joburg Fashion Week where Xolani from Xolani and Mawande and I injected both our brand identities into one look. For my Joburg Fashion Week collection I collaborated with Zain, someone I went to school with, for accessories.  

AFI Fastrack Prize Mimangaliso Ndiko SIXX6 Cape Town Fashion Week 2023

I’ve always said I gravitate towards the term “Creative Director” more than designer. I love outsourcing multiple talents to create a great body of work. I don’t believe in doing things myself, if someone can do it better I definitely want them on board. It only strengthens my vision. I always want a different imprint in my work, constantly looking for new people to work with me on my collections.

Sustainability and ethical practices are becoming increasingly important in fashion. How have you considered these aspects in your final collection, and how do you envision them influencing your future design philosophy?

My sustainability model has remained consistent throughout the programme. I have also found the right words to articulate it in detail. So often people expect sustainability to be fabric scraps, but I wanted something different. I wanted to maintain the newness of a garment and rather focus on having garments that are 2-in-1. They are multi-functional and have adjustable components that increase the garments longevity, while combating high consumerism.

Being a part of AFI Fastrack has given me the platform to explain my sustainability model, which has led to platforms that specialise in fashion sustainability like Twyg, to recognise my efforts into sustainability by nominating SIXX 6 for the Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards and shedding light on my brands model.

SIXX6 Durban July Collection

The AFI Fastrack Prize has a reputation for launching the careers of future stars. Beyond winning, how do you envision this program shaping your path as a designer in the African fashion landscape?

I’m just happy to have been a finalists and no matter the outcome, I’ve already been validated as a potential success just based off of the fact that my profile stood out to Africa Fashion International. I believe it only gets bigger and better from here.

What message do you want to convey to the industry with your final collection, and what can the audience expect from you as a designer after the competition?

I want to convey a fresh perspective to the concept of commercial viability. This collection has an aura of wearability and mass appeal without taking away from innovation. I want to celebrate how far we’ve come as a nation, specifically Africans “from aprons to suits” in corporate space we weren’t included in. Expectations from my brand after the competition? Retail and accessibility to the masses!



The winner of the AFI Fastrack Prize 2023/24 will be announced on Friday, 21 June 2024 in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

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