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South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi debuts at New York Fashion Week 2019

South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi creates distinctive fashion for his eponymous label. His steady rise has led to his debut at the New York Fashion Week: Men’s and Women’s Fall/Winter 2019, adding greater inclusivity to the fashion industry’s catwalks.



The New York Fashion Week: Men’s and Women’s Fall/Winter 2019 runs from 4 to 13 February. The catwalks are welcoming newcomers that include Lukhanyo Mdingi from South Africa, No Sesso from Los Angeles and Keenkee, based in New York and South Korea.

The designer profiles define young South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi as “one of a few designers helping to put South Africa’s fashion scene on the map. With pieces that celebrate considered design with sustainable textures, his awe-inspiring looks tell complex stories that bare simple elegance, soulfulness and a connection to his ancestral roots”.


Lukhanyo Mdingi was born in East London and has been interested in beauty and fashion since he was 16 years old. As a graduate of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and a finalist in the Elle Rising Star Design Award he is recognised for his sophisticated designs. Mdingi’s aesthetic is about a “disciplined order fused with an organic structure”, according to Fashions of Southern Africa. “He combines contrasting materials and textures in innovative silhouettes. With five collections under his belt, Mdingi is one of the most promising talents of South African fashion.”

“I was curious about the whole thought process – from concept to execution – bearing in mind that fashion is much more than clothes and fabrics,” Mdingi told the publication.

Asked by Fader in 2015 what he identified with, Mdingi said, “I love classic, traditional brands. I want to be a traditionalist. When I look at ready-to-wear clothes, it’s all about functionality and wearability. I really love form. I love structure and texture and feel. When I created my avant-garde thesis collection at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, I was focused on fabrication and the shape of the garment. But when I launched my second collection, it was very important to show people here that I want to create ready-to-wear. You could say that I was thinking more commercially, but ready-to-wear pieces with special fabrication are my first love.”

Some of his collections so far include “Granite”, a collection that features contrasts based on hard, soft, matte and sheen elements and balances ready-to-wear with avant-garde pieces. His “Basics” collection focuses on clean, minimal looks that are strong and distinct, using fabrics that enhance and expose the female form. “Soulful” is a coherent body of work that reflects a modern appeal through well-designed, carefully crafted and timeless pieces. “Iridescence” identifies the meaning of avant-garde aesthetics in fashion design, specifically focusing on menswear in South Africa.

See an extract of his debut at New York Fashion Week here: