Who are you and where are you based?
My name is Sindiso Khumalo, I am a fashion and textile designer based in both London and Johannesburg.
What’s your background?
I studied architecture as my first degree at th University of Cape Town, after graduating I moved to London to work for architect David Adjaye. After my time at Adjaye I went onto study an MA in Textile Futures at Central St Martins.
What influences your work as a designer?
Graphics and images hugely influence my work. I’m a bit of a visual junkie, so I’m always photographing or sketching away. This collection was heavy influenced the visual and cultural collisions that exist within Durban taxi ranks. And my next collection is looking heavily into the degradation of modernist buildings within an African context, so it really all depends on what grabs me at that moment.
Who are your favourite characters from African culture, film, literature or art?
I’m usually influenced alot by African artists and writers. Some of my favourites are artists Yinka Shonibare, Nandipha Mntambo and Dineo Seshee Bopape and writers Wole Soyinka and Chimamnde Ngozi Adiche.
What are your ambitions for yourself as a designer?
I have two main ambition as a designer. The first is to build a global stockists list and have my products distributed to a big global audience. Showcasing the creativity of our continent to a wider audience. The other ambition is about empowerment. I work with Cape Town based seamstresses for my production and local Zulu craftswoman in rural areas of Kwazulu Natal for some of my textiles. Its very important that my designs have an empowerment aspect behind it. South Africa has 25% unemployment, yet vast wealth of craft and resources. For me its about creating partners and working to produce creating luxury pieces with local specialists.
What are you currently working on?
We are currently tying up our AW13 collection. Its very stressful and tension levels are pretty high at the moment. But its all very exciting of course!
What’s the most sublime [artistic or personal] experience you’ve ever had?
Every time I fly and look out into clouds its pretty sublime. Also driving through rural parts of South Africa and just looking out the window.
What’s your greatest fear – either for yourself [as an artist] – or for Africa?
There’s actually very little I fear besides loosing people I love. My mother always has a saying “ Material processions can always be replaced, but people can never”. So I try to apply that to my life. Not get too bogged down with the material but rather the relations developed through this journey. When it comes to my career and what I do on a daily basis, I believe every failure always has a lesson behind it, so I tend not to fear the outcomes of things, but rather honestly hold onto the lesson behind things.
Tell us about (Sindiso Khumalo – the label] – What’s it about?
Sindiso Khumalo is a womenswear brand with a strong focus on contemporary textile print design. Our vision is to create a innovative luxury fashion label which is heavily rooted in its approach to the textile of the garment. To create a contemporary modern african textile aesthetic that showcases the both the craftsmanship that exists in our continent, as well as pushing new ground into future technologies within the textile environment.
Do you have a tip for us about your part of Africa/The Diaspora?We have such a vast wealth of creativity and resources on our continent. Its important to tap into it and use your international platform as an opportunity to showcase and develop these resources. Make local, think global.