By now I’m sure a lot of us know about the Elle Rising Star Design Award that they are doing in association with Mr Price. Well, the finalists mood boards are ready and I will be posting them as we get closer and closer to the final winner selection. So we are starting with Sindiso Khumalo’s mood board which I absolutely fucking love. Check below for a Q&A to introduce you to Sindiso.
*Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background? What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
My name is Sindiso Khumalo and home is Durban, KwaZulu Natal, although I have spent most of my life outside of Durban. I was born in Botswana and spent my schooling years in Botswana, Pretoria and Durban. When I was 17 I packed my bags and moved to Cape Town to begin what was then my career in the arts and design world. I studied a bachelors degree in Architecture at the University of Cape Town and following graduation in 2002 I moved to London to work for architect David Adjaye. I spent some great moments there and also met some really great friends, including my husband. In 2004 I decided it was time to forge a new path into the fashion industry, so I began applied for an MA Textiles at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. The CSM approach is one of unlearning all preconceptions and previous ideas on design, and recreating your own methods of design through experimentation, questioning and discovery. Over the last couple of years I have been sharing my time between Durban and London working as a stylist. I have interned at magazine Dazed and Confused and worked as a senior stylist for photographic and styling agency Hungry Tiger, working primarily on the Harrods online account. My passions lie heavily in the arts. I enjoy visiting galleries and various exhibitions, visiting markets and traveling. Alot of my inspiration comes from music, books, photographs, art and people.
*What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is one of those subjects that you can never run out of things to talk about. Fashion exists everywhere, in films, in music, in ballets. For me it is both a cultural and creative medium. Its a tool I use to express my creativity but also fashion has the ability to create huge movements through society, change cultural norms. Fashion, if used correctly, can be both a strong creative, political and cultural tool.
*When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
From a very young age I always wanted to be an artist. I never knew how I would articulate that into something real so I began by studying architecture. Over the course of a few years I began to manipulate my training into a more fashion/ textiles direction. I’ve always had a multidisciplinary approach to my work, so I actually regard myself more as a designer in a holistic sense than a fashion designer.
*Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.
My approach begins with the process of making and experimenting with the textile and graphics before thinking about what the garment will be. I see this as an exercise in reinterpreting the identity and priority of the textile, using the garment as a carriage for the print. I enjoy using traditional fabrics, such as wool, silk and silk chiffon, and give them an unconventional treatment. Experimenting with various textile techniques such as digital printing, screen printing, dip dyeing.
Then comes the garment construction. I always start off with a key item then manipulate the pattern to suit each outfit. In this collection the tshirt was the key starting points for most of my looks.
*What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
Distinction in my MA thesis at Central St Martins
Design Award during my MA Course to have work displayed a Textile Exhibition in New York
Invited to show my work at Designers Bloc- a design exhibition in London
And of course being a finalist at for the Elle Rising Star !
*How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
I’ve never really worked on a show or a shoot as a designer, but rather as a stylist. The process begins with alot of research on the particular looks and actually getting key items matched up with right accessories. Then I prep the garments, by steaming and ironing them .This takes up alot of time but is really important to the process. If I am part of the casting, then I would have cast models to a specific brief. Usually the client will articulate what look they’re going for, and I would try send a brief to a various modeling agents who would put send their girls to the casting. From the casting our team (usually stylist and photographer and sometimes the client) would select their models. Then on the day of the shoot , I’d work with hair and make up and the photographer to get the right shots and images.
*How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
The collection reflects a The garment shapes are clean and pure with clever unexpected details. Bold graphics printed on luxurious fabrics and simple cuts with high end finishings. Its a bold yet sophisticated collection that showcases a fresh perspective on the relations ship of print to clothing.
*What are some of your fashion goals?
To have my own label and both successful and sustainable.
*Where do you get your inspiration?
Usually everywhere but fashion. When I was at university, we were taught never to look in fashion magazines for inspiration. So I never did. I mainly get inspiration from old objects, it could be an old Native American quilt to 300 year old Middle Eastern tiling style. I travel alot, and I try and collect old books on old craft techniques. I am a bit of a craft nerd and nostalgic rolled up into one. I love learning a new skill, I recently did a millinery course, to learn how to make hats. I ended up making loads of 1940’s style hats for myself. Its always exciting to get an insight into a new craft, be it weaving a grass mat or making a piece of furniture. Its all informing.
*What are your favorite patterns [prints] to work with and why?
My current signature style contains geometric and graphic prints placed onto simple silhouettes. I think its informed from my architectural background and my love for simplicity in form and aesthetics.