RELAXING INTO AN EASY SENSE OF FASHION
HAVING been a part of the 2015 class of Design Indaba’s emerging creatives programme and shown collections at SA Menswear Week among others, Lukhanyo Mdingi is a rising star in the fashion industry. The designer who is in his early 20s pushes the envelope so much that his eponymous brand presented elements of sleepwear in his Purgation collection.
According to The Washington Post, sleepwear as streetwear is a big no. “Pyjamas, however, are intimate without the sex appeal. They are all comfort without even the pretence of function,” the publication expresses.
“There was a period when rebellious teenagers or overtaxed parents wore their jersey or flannel sleepwear out to coffee shops or the dog park. This iteration of pyjamas exuded laziness. Fashion pyjamas are more complicated. They require a certain level of fashion savvy – to make clear that the look was intentional, not happenstance.”
The East London-raised Mdingi, who graduated from Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a national diploma in 2013 and a BTech Degree in 2014, is all for this trend. We caught up with the Cape Town-based designer to find out why. Even though you own a luxury brand, you thrive on creating everyday wear. Why is that? It’s super important for the label to have a balance between the two because not everybody can afford the price points of luxury. It’s also with regard to the practicalities of everyday wear. I just need to find a balance. It boils down to – besides the viability – it makes brand sense. We don’t want to be for one demographic. We want to slowly branch into things that are more high-end going into more ready-towear. In the future, we want to go into things like sports and home and mainly thinking of lifestyle more than anything else. We’re just taking it a step at a time. What are your thoughts on the sleepwear (outside the bedroom) trend? I think it has to do with the easy wear of the pajama look. My most recent collection has a lot of fluidlike, drape silhouettes that look like sleepwear but, to be honest, when I was creating the collection, sleepwear was the last thing I was thinking about. I think if you’re choosing particular fabrics that are quite silky or lighter, they will always have that distinct reference to sleepwear even though you might not necessarily intend it. I think it’s great that clothes can have that sense of translating themselves into one particular thing from daywear to nightwear. There’s an abundance of inspiration coming through. It’s pretty rad that sleepwear can now be seen as day wear. Do you think your confidence has to be on 1000 to wear pajamas outside or can anyone jump on to the trend? If you’re aware of your body shape and what colours suit you, then wear it. I think anyone can wear a beautiful, open-collar, 1970s style shirt that is silk and that will already look like sleepwear. I don’t think that it’s a certain type of woman or man who can pull it off. is always a period where there is one particular thing that is “on trend” and then it will go “out of trend” but it will always evolve itself into a current or contemporary way.
I think this will always be referenced because, in fashion, we are always looking at the past and how to make it contemporary. The pajama look is actually pretty timeless because it’s something you wear everyday. The cut of the shirt is something you can see in lots of people’s closets – even when it’s not necessarily in a pajama fabric. The silhouette of it is something that’s evident in many people’s closets. I don’t believe this is a fad but there will always be something to which people will pay more attention.
What’s in store for the Lukhanyo Mdingi brand in 2017?
I’m going to be focusing on timeless pieces and classics. I’ve been looking into a lot of vintageinspired clothes which goes hand in hand with the ethos of the brand of looking at slow fashion and also the quality of product. I’ve been researching and collecting a lot of clothes that were made in the 1970s, 1980s and even 1960s to get an idea of construction and silhouette because those are the pieces that are timeless. Lukhanyo Mdingi’s Essentials Collection will be available on Spree from March 2017.
Keep up with the fashion trends – the latest being pajamas worn as daywear. Cynthia Gwebu
Pajamas made trendy.
Fashion designer Lukhanyo Mdingi.