Unveiled at Joburg Fashion Week, AFI Fastrack finalist XHVNTI’s capsule collection, wove together the worlds of art and fashion. This multi-layered body of work celebrated the harmonious interchange of the two in designer Xhanti Mpu’s creative world.
Through a collection titled “Umntwa’ kaNdisi”, Mpu introspects on how the worlds of art and fashion have been intertwined in his own life. He is guided by minimalist design, which he defines as “true, harmonious, and a pure form of beauty that does not pretend to be what it’s not”. He aligns this philosophy with his own thoughts on queer sexuality.
In the same breath, Mpu fondly remembers the ordered and intimate space of his grandmother’s home, where everything had its place and served its purpose, aligning his grandmother’s disciplined and uncomplicated interior with minimalist design. In this collection, these two worlds and their aligning philosophies come together to influence silhouette, texture, palette.
A knee-length, asymmetrical dress with a gathered detail on the right-hand side. An asymmetrical panel shielding the torso and exaggerating the shoulders created an interesting silhouette.
Mpu often accomplishes this through a determined, non-traditional approach – building unique and irregular shapes around the wearer’s body, creating unrestricted and unconventional silhouettes, often draped, and dependent on deconstruction and asymmetry.
Mpu zoned in on the aesthetic discipline of minimalism through a brown and neutral colour palette, giving character to opaque materials through gathering and asymmetry.
This easy-moving, ochre-coloured blazer three piece was made up of a blazer, shirt and knee-length skirt.
Mpu’s knack for an abstract, unconventional silhouette dominated XHVNTI’s capsule collection. A knee-length, asymmetrical dress, gathered at the hip, wrapped itself around the model’s body, finished off by the drama of an exaggerated, one-shoulder panel.
His second look was an ochre-coloured three-piece blazer, shirt, and knee-length skirt, all echoing the cool confidence of the collection.
This torso-bearing, mud-brown crop top was paired with wide-legged pants, with a detachable overskirt.
Finally, Mpu boldly closed the show with a midriff-bearing mud-brown crop top, paired with wide-legged pants and a detachable overskirt that hinted at layers yet to be revealed.
At the centre of the XHVNTI brand is a mission to create fashion that transcends the strictures and traditions of gender and be an oasis to the often-underrepresented Queer and gender non-conforming markets.
Fashion designer, Xhanti Xabiso Mpu of XHVNTI at the AFI Fastrack shwocase at Joburg Fashion Week 2023
In a society where gender norms and traditional fashion rules still hold strong, XHVNTI is on a mission to break the mould, creating inclusive and boundary-pushing fashion.
In embracing all identities and challenging societal expectations, XHVNTI has the opportunity to contribute to paving the way for a more diverse and accepting future in the South African fashion industry.