RELAXING INTO AN EASY SENSE OF FASHION
Should pajamas be left in the bedroom? South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi doesn’t want you to sleep on this daytime trend, says HELEN HERIMBI
AVING 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. I can see my mom, my gran, my cousins wearing different parts of it. I’m not thinking of a full pajama look. They could just wear a shirt with a pair of jeans or a skirt. I think it’s adaptable to many people. Is it more fashion-forward to wear silky or velvet sleepwear in public as opposed to flannel, for example? I wouldn’t think of it as more fashion-forward. When I think of flannel, I think of lumberjack! When I think of cotton, I think of normal, everyday wear. I think it’s got to do with when people see a two-piece of silk pajamas they immediately think it’s something that’s got to do with luxury. And when I say silk, I’m not meaning 100 percent silk, I just mean a shiny fabric. It’s not real silk because real silk will cost you like R5 000. It’s how the world chooses to see it at the end of the day. There’s been this perception that silk pajamas are luxury but I don’t think it’s that different from any other pajamas. What was the audience’s reaction to Purgation when you showed your collection? I think the audience was really satisfied and the response has been really overwhelming. I’m happy about it because I create collections purely for myself because I’m an artist and, when I create, I’m not necessarily thinking “I hope the audience likes it”. It’s just for me and my expression. I think people liking it is an added bonus. Who are some of your favourite famous faces who wear sleepwear during the day? I’d say Solange. She seems to be wearing quite a lot of sleepwearinspired pieces. I’d also say Harry Styles from One Direction.
says the sleepwear trend is a fad, do you agree? I think trends come and go. I personally don’t think of it as a fad. I think in the cycle of fashion there 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. WITH over 7400 subscribers to her YouTube vlog channel, Cynthia Gwebu is definitely one to watch in the online space. This full-time beauty blogger uses her website to conduct product reviews, attend events, school beauty enthusiasts about the latest trends and present tutorials.
Gwebu’s logo is a nod to the famous Chanel logo but she is intent on carving her own lane in the business. She is the first to admit it’s not all roses and Revlon when it comes to blogging, but she is enjoying the journey – which she also broadcasts to over 6200 followers on Instagram. How and when did you discover your love for beauty?
Possibly from reading glossy mags. I knew I always loved it but the obsession probably came about when I purchased my first lipstick. When did you start your blog?
Around the age of 18. But back then it was merely a hobby and a concoction of dramatic teenage ramblings. How easy or difficult has the blogging journey been?
Since actually committing to it fully (this year), it’s been an interesting journey. I faced some rejection in the beginning but since then it has picked up phenomenal momentum so I can’t complain. What are some of the highlights of being in charge of your own blog?
Exactly that. Being in control of the creative process has been very exciting. It’s my ideas that get put forward, my vision and my story. No one can take that creative voice away from me, which is thrilling. What are some downsides/bad moments that you have experienced on this journey?
My journey has been a very blessed one but, as I mentioned earlier, it definitely had to be the rejection from potential clients in the beginning. They came around since so I’m happy about that. What were the biggest trends for 2016?
For lips, it has been the textured glitter lips à la Pat McGrath. Glossy lids was the trend for eyes. For skin, superfood skincare – kale, açaí, goji berries, quinoa, spirulina, chia seeds are beneficial when eaten and now also in the skincare products we use. Lastly, the wob – the wavy long bob – was the trend for hair. What are your plans/goals for 2017?
I definitely want to travel more, outside of the country, if my work and schedule allows me!
Pajamas made trendy.
Fashion designer Lukhanyo Mdingi.