A THRIVE IN THE UNDERGROUND FASHION SCENE IN DURBAN
By: Xolisani Khumalo and Sihle Makhowana
Thousands of designer clothes lay on the floor covering a very spacious bedroom in Klaarwater.
“Welcome to my fabric covered canvas room,” said Nqumeko Majola, an underground fashion designer from Durban, as he points at his bedroom.
Sitting in his fabric covered bedroom, Majola speaks of how he makes clothes for potential clients that come to him but disappear at the eleventh hour.
“When I first started, I was shocked and really upset when a ‘client’ ditched me.
I’ve come to understand that not every piece of fabric you turn into clothing will get sold,” said Majola.
This however doesn’t mean that Majola has never enjoyed the success or joy of sold out designs.
“Flea markets are one place, where I would say is a haven for underground designers, most of my designs are sold at the Essenwood Craft Market,” added Majola.
As David Tlale hosted his runway show in New York, people like Majola and Makhosazana Buthelezi, former Durban University of Technology (DUT) fashion design student, mostly look out
for flea markets to sell their designs.
The atmosphere at the flea market is intense, designers are in and out of their stalls unhanging designs that have been bought by customers.
“You don’t choose to be an underground designer, it chooses you,” said Buthelezi. She added that if you have no investors then flea markets is the place to sell your clothes.
Majola talks about how he and Khosi are good friends but become arch-enemies when it came to the crafts.
Majola said “it’s a dog eat dog world.”
“Being an underground fashion designer is not as bad as everyone puts it.
Any successful designer will tell you that whilst they still underground you get to expose the very best in you,” said Majola.
CoolOut Vintage is an event that takes place once every last Sunday of each month. It is a platform for young-up and coming designers, graphic, painters, photographers, musicians and bakers.
“Most underground fashion designers find themselves ‘cooped up’ at CoolOut Vintage because it offers us something that no one can,” Buthelezi stated.
“I respect underground designers like myself because we go on a daily basis without having made a sale like commercial designers.” Said Majola.
Majola said that being underground has afforded him a chance to meet many talented designers whom he has learnt a lot from. The passion and hunger they have is what makes the underground fashion bloom.
Festivals like the Durban Fashion Fair (DFF), however argue that it gives platforms to every budding designer there is.
Invitation is open for fashion forward emerging designers to showcase their Autumn/Winter Collection at this year’s “Durban Fashion Fair 2015,” more details are found on the DFF website’s