Johannesburg-based fashion designer,  Nhlanhla Masemola, a top 10 finalist of the Africa Fashion International (AFI) Fast Track Programme. 

Nhlanhla Masemola is a Johannesburg-based fashion designer. He was selected as one of the Top 10 Finalists for the Africa Fashion International (AFI) Fast Track programme, which is a platform for up-and-coming designers at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

How did you get into the AFI Fast Track?
I had to design and create a collection for a fashion show before graduating. I felt that the collection was good enough to enter into AFI Fast Track. They loved it and I was immediately called back to present my ideas, and got as one of the top 10 designers.

What inspired your collection?
My range is called ‘Period Pains’, which is quite controversial and is conceptual, rather than commercial. I was inspired by school, especially since educational environments pressure people to a feeling of incompetence.

What clothes are in the collection?
My collection is “Ready To Wear” women’s wear. Its items can be worn together or as separates.

What is involved in the design process?
It starts with a concept, followed by a sketch and technical drawings. From there, mock-ups (samples) and technical drawings are created. Only then are the actual clothes made.

What are your thoughts on South African designers?
There are a lot of really good young designers who are growing in the industry, so it’s an exciting time for South African fashion. It makes me want to push myself even more.
How do you see your future in fashion design?
My name, Nhlanhla Masemola, is being used to market my collection. I’m still going to push my vision for what I want, but overall I just want my work to be fun because there would be no point in it otherwise. The world is my oyster right now, so watch this space, because I feel that as a young designer, I have so much to show.

How can students translate fashion from the runway into their own wardrobes?
Watch fashion from the catwalk with the idea in mind that it is a show, and so it is hyped up. Be inspired by aspects of it and figure out which pieces you can translate and wear in a more toned down version.

What makes fashion significant?
Fashion doesn’t live in a bubble; it is a signifier of the times. It is often a reflection of what is happening in the world and so it’s important for people to pay attention to it. The amount of love I’ve been shown has been so overwhelming. I’d like to thank AFI and AFI Fast track for giving me the amazing opportunity to show my work. It has been a truly incredible experience.