“Virgule” is French for “comma” and in the way that a sentence often needs a comma to add meaning, a beautiful range needs to be showcased in a suitably creative setting to do it justice.
South African Fashion Week designer, Ntando XV’s range will be housed in such a space, namely the Virgule gallery in Hyde Park. I chatted to sleek and slim creative Ntando Ngwenya on his range’s new home, his thoughts on the future of fashion in South Africa and how he is breaking gender barriers, one garment at a time.
“Artisanal clothing” has come to define a new wave in fashion. Ntando explains that he chose to categorise his range as artisanal so that it is neither women’s wear, nor men’s wear, but caters to gender non-conforming clients as well. “People need to challenge themselves in fashion” says Ntando.
After catering to mostly private clients, the need for fluid clothing of impeccable quality became clear. Ntando XV was birthed in 2015, with XV being the Roman numeral for fifteen, Ntando’s January date of birth.
With the fashion industry being the second biggest waste polluter, it is exciting to see steps being taken towards sustainable fashion. “This is one of the aspects that I loved about Ntando XV” says Miranda Lakhnati of the Virgule Gallery.
There is no room for cutting corners at Ntando XV: “I do not even do overlocking, I see it as the easy way out and so often prefer binding. I also love using cotton for the breathability and stretch, whether it is cotton poplin or a stronger spider cotton.”
His range continues to blur the lines, from interchangeable gender roles, to interchangeable panels that can be swapped out and inserted with press studs.
When asked on the secret to success in fashion, Ntando explains that is important to bring on a manager/CEO/business-savvy person. “As designers, we often need strategic direction to come from an unbiased source in order for our success to be financially sustainable.”
What can we look forward to in future collections you may wonder? “Simple styles can often get lost on the runway and so I will be incorporating different technicalities in order to show off alternative finishings in the coming range,” says Ntando.
It is safe to say that fashion in South Africa continues to not only evolve with the times, but pave its own way on the international fashion front. I look forward to seeing more exciting collections at the South African Fashion Week.
bye for now