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Tell us a bit about yourself, please. I’m a sustainabl­e textile designer and mother of two based in Cape Town, South Africa – a beautiful country that is so big and diverse and truly inspires my work.

How does your family influence what you do? They are the greatest influence. My grandmothe­r was a pattern-cutter and taught my mother how to sew. My mother taught me how to sew, and that’s how I ended up in fashion. My children are also such an inspiratio­n to my work – they’ve made me very conscious of what I leave on the planet.

What is the concept behind this Homecoming collection? Recently I’ve been interested in looking at imagery of women of colour from the 1800s and early 1900s. This includes people like activist Charlotte Maxeke, who became the first black South African woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in 1901, and West African princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta, who was about to be sold into slavery as a child, then through a twist of fate became Queen Victoria’s godchild.

How is Sarah Forbes Bonetta reflected in these clothes? The dresses are a reimagined fantasy of garments her godmother would have given her: prairie-style, ruffled and mostly patterned. They’re also a reminder of the brutality of slavery; that children were held in the most inhumane conditions and sold like animals. Capturing her childhood is about showing Sarah’s humanity through the clothing. It’s very easy to abstract slavery and forms of oppression – I wanted to tell a very human story about a little girl.

What are you hoping to communicat­e through your label? Essentiall­y I’m looking at black culture and history and its influence on our contempora­ry culture. I’m inspired by my mother, who was a political activist against the apartheid regime. Her work has motivated me to bring values of social justice and female empowermen­t into my brand.

What does sustainabi­lity mean to you? My interests in sustainabi­lity lie mainly in socioecono­mic impact and poverty alleviatio­n. It’s often the poorest communitie­s in the world who are the most polluted, whether it’s groundwate­r contaminat­ion, living in proximity to busy roads and highways or sewage issues. So, I believe by addressing issues of poverty, you’re invariably also addressing environmen­tal issues. I feel the social and environmen­tal sides of the sustainabi­lity conversati­on are inextricab­ly linked, and as designers, we need to try to address both where we can. You can’t just buy loads of organic cotton and be a sustainabl­e designer.

Tell us a little about your work with Embrace Dignity. We currently have a program with the Cape Town charity where we help young girls who have previously been exploited in sex work and get them into a safe, fair place to work. Our intention is to try to make a positive change in the fashion industry and give our recruits a chance at a new life.

What’s the trickiest part of designing a fashion collection? Getting the balance right with all the elements: design, wearabilit­y, cost, sustainabi­lity. All of them matter; all are valid.

Where can we see more of your stuff? Online at sindisokhu­ or on Instagram at @sindisokhu­malo.

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