SA Fashion Week’s Autumn/ Winter ‘24 runways saw various ensembles from some of South African fashion’s shapeshifters. One such brand is MUNKUS by fashion entrepreneur and designer, Thando Ntuli. Titled, “Ndawo Yami”, the evocative collection was crafted to reframe and reimagine the history of our legislature through the feminine lens.
Women have had a different set of rules to follow in society. Sumptuary Laws told women how to dress. Women were not allowed to vote. Legislation such as the Women’s Enfranchisement Act reinforced a division between the white and non-white segments of the population. These events led to the beginning of Apartheid, which stripped the rights of non-white South Africans.
The legislature was used to divide and conquer. It dictated where people could move, how they lived, their education, and what they could do. Due to a movement and a decades-long battle for the rights of all, Apartheid fell, ushering in a new era and a new constitution for South Africa.
MUNKUS decided to look at this while taking a snapshot of what it looks like and look at our comparative histories. The brand used this as the soul of our collection. Through the lens of the quintessential MUNKUS woman, examine the historical legislature. Through this process, the brand hopes to create a set of codes inspired by the past and present, whilst looking to the future.
This season, Thando’s grandmother was the protagonist. MUNKUS used images of her as the main prints of their collection. The images used by the brand are similar to photos most South Africans keep in their houses. These images of our loved ones immortalise their essence in film. The film images create softer, earthy tones with a blend that mimics an ombre, using our staple recycled denim, we explore tailoring to define what the munws suit looks like. We explore various shapes and volumes from trousers, pleated skirts, and asymmetrical details. The perennial munws woman can mix and match the pieces for different occasions, one of the pillars of our house.
Invigorating colour, one of the codes of MUNKUS, is not absent. The brand chose to use it in our locally sourced and produced knitwear pieces. using South African mohair and Cotton yarns, we create classic silhouettes that are intergenerational. We intentionally pulled elements from historical periods of change till the modern day, tying them together with our MUNKUS spirit of romanticism.
Fashion is something incredibly intimate, It is something that no one is exempt from in the world. It has been a tool for community and a source of jog, It has also been used as a weapon to either strip people of their identity or insight fear through symbolism. Fashion is a global barometer or a sign of the times. The clothes we wear propose how we want to present ourselves, how we feel, and the community we belong to. While not all-encompassing, MUNKUS wanted Ndawo Yami to reflect their research and meditations on the perennial woman in the modern day.