Founded by Xolani Magadla and Mawande Mbawuli, Xolani Mawande’s primary focus is on the youth market, so the AFI Fastrack challenge at Joburg Fashion Week, arguably offered itself up as a cakewalk for the designer duo.
Still, they rose to the occasion, producing a colourful and contemporary take on occasion wear.
Titled “Colour Party”, Xolani Mawande’s Joburg Fashion Week capsule collection reflects an aspirational perspective, while also being playful and expressive.
They revisited their Cape Town Fashion Week debut with their first look 'Gala Dinner,' with a striking polka-dot two-piece with a hot-pink outline, reminiscent of the look they presented in Cape Town as they were announced as AFI Fastrack finalists. They also repurposed elements like the 3D silk corsage.
For their first look, Xolani Mawande created a two-piece suit with a hot-pink outline trailing the seams. The short blazer, hemmed at the waist, is accompanied by wide-legged pants, and embellished with a 3D corsage made of silk – another re-use from their Cape Town Fashion Week collection.
Their second look was a vibrant red ensemble with a collared mesh shirt and fringed pants, befitting their brand’s buyer profile, who is a trendy young person who frequents Johannesburg events, like Vogue Nights.
Their final look, titled "Fashion Week After Party" embodied the label's playful spirit with a polka-dotted cropped shirt and high-waisted skirt, complete with adjustable zipper and playful shoelace details.
This vivid red look is what Xolani Mawande imagines their buyer wearing at popular Johannesburg event, Vogue Nights. The look comprised a collared mesh shirt with two red duchess-satin pockets on the chest and a pair of high-waisted red pants lined with fringe.
Each look showcased the duo's ability to reimagine materials, cater to different occasions, and inject fun into their designs.
As a boost to their skill and ingenuity, one thing that this designer duo has made apparent since we met them was their listening ear, and their ability to collaborate and attune. It’s what keeps them aligned with the culture and style sensibilities of their primarily Gen-Z clientele and peers.
Embodying everything that we love about this label, Xolani Mawande’s “Fashion Week After Party” look was a playful, polka-dotted two-piece, comprising a cropped, collared shirt and high-waisted skirt with a slit down the middle, adjustable by zipper. Fun details included shoelace details on the pockets.
Xolani Mawande is on a mission to produce accessible fashion that reflects their perspective on Gen-Z sensibilities. Although vague at first glance, this means that their brand identity is a somewhat flexible one, that must evolve as generations and their style philosophies evolve.
This makes the Xolani Mawande brand a key addition to the South African retail landscape, where the youth market arguably finds itself limited in terms of mainstream brands that cater specifically to them.