Artistic vision blossoms under a mentorship programme
Astounding fashion entrepreneur Thando Ntuli and virtuosic graphic designer Kiav Mitoo, have joined forces to launch an exclusive summer range for Pick n Pay Clothing. The unveiling of the limited-edition range is set to take centre stage during a captivating fashion show held at the reopening of the Pick n Pay Clothing store in Sandton today, 18 August 2023.
Despite the two designers never meeting in person, the Thando Ntuli x Kiav x Pick n Pay Clothing collection is a perfect fusion of youth, creativity, and empowerment. Ntuli, a 26-year-old fashion designer from Soweto, designed the clothing, while Mitoo, a 20-year-old graphic design student and artist based in Cape Town, designed the print for the fabrics.
They united under the mentorship of acclaimed designer Gavin Rajah and Pick n Pay Clothing through the Futurewear program, which was introduced in 2020 to provide a platform for young creatives to thrive in the competitive local fashion industry. This dynamic collaboration has paved the way for fashion-forward collections that fly off the shelves, offering on-trend designs at budget-friendly prices.
Under Rajah’s guidance, the duo – and a third designer Cinani Nhlapo, who is expected to launch her range next month – has spent the last nine months crafting unique and limited collections for Pick n Pay Clothing, each an embodiment of the latest trends and contemporary style. This is the 10th collection to launch under Futurewear, with four more expected to launch this year, including two from Rajah himself.
The Thando Ntuli x Kiav x Pick n Pay Clothing collection aims to inspire female empowerment. Ntuli was inspired by women’s strong role in shaping the economy, while Mitoo’s flower motif print symbolises the multi-faceted nature of women.
Ntuli’s description of the range as a “kaleidoscope for women” aptly captures the essence of the collection. Inspired by generations of strong women in her family (from her mother to her great-grandmother), Ntuli’s creations bridge the gap between ages and lifestyles. The collection comprises five versatile pieces, including a blazer, tailored pants, wrap dress, Peter Pan collared jacket, and pleated dress, all adorned with Kiav’s intricate, flowy, and floral graphic prints.
“The outfits are designed to empower both the young and the mature, combining strength and femininity. These pieces effortlessly transition from the office to the comfort of home,” says Ntuli.
Ntuli has previously shown her design in Nigeria, Kenya and Germany and started her fashion brand in 2019 which offers bespoke collections with youthful attire that tells a story through colours and prints.
Getting into commercial fashion and collaborating with Pick n Pay Clothing without constraints “gave us the freedom to create without pushing a narrative of ‘this is how we do things’,” says Ntuli.
Hazel Pillay, General Manager of Pick n Pay Clothing, says that the Fututewear initiative is part of their commitment to making fashion accessible to all. “Working with young, fresh talent who have their fingers on the pulse of trends as they translate them into affordable designs for our shelves has been exciting.”
“Working under Gavin (Rajah) has given us a better understanding of the fashion industry and growing a business while building a brand around yourself,” says Ntuli.
Getting practical experience with one of the country’s leading retailers while still at varsity sets Mitoo up for a successful future in the creative industry. “I applied for Futurewear as I always had an interest in merging art with fashion, and the programme seemed like a good entry point,” he said. “Futurewear has helped me create connections within the creative industry, and I want to use it as a springboard to drive projects which give people the same opportunity,” he said.
The Thando Ntuli x Kiav x Pick n Pay Clothing collection launched today, 18 August 2023 and is available in selected stores and online at www.picknpayclothing.co.za.