6 Durban designers you should know


House of Saint Luke. Picture by Simon Deiner/SDR Photo

The Durban fashion scene is often overlooked and doesn’t receive as much fanfare and shine as Joburg’s or Cape Town’s. The latter two are home to most of South Africa’s known creatives, fashion weeks and fashion lovers who have a major social media footprint and following. Not saying that the city of Durban does not have its own creatives and fashionistas; however, most are somehow flying under the radar. There are a number of eThekwini-born fashion faces and influencers such as models, designers, photographers, fashion writers and experts making major moves in the industry that you need to know some of whom you might know already. For now, let’s focus on the designers and models. I recently attended the annual Durban Fashion Fair. This is the city’s biggest fashion platform that attracts the most industry attention.

Supported by the eThekwini Municipality and held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), this platform offers impressive opportunities for emerging talents of young designers and models.

It also does wonders in promoting established designers and offers mentorship programmes and awards such as the Durban Designer mentees programme and the New Face of the Year, which has launched many modelling careers.

The theme for this year was “Dawn of the Arts,” which was about the reawakening of the creative industry and realisation of the arts as a lucrative business opportunity. We gathered at the ICC for four days and watched 40 designers (including specially invited creatives from the African continent) showcase their latest collections. Here are some of my top designer picks you should know.

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  1. Indoni Fashion House: The fashion house does prints and flattering shapes best. These African prints never go out of style and this dress is perfect for the summer months. Pair it with bold accessories or go without.


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2. Martin Steenkamp: Steenkamp’s futuristic and androgynous designs are for the brave man. Millennial pink is the hottest colour of the season.

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3. House of Alfalfa: With his collection, self-taught designer Sandile Mlambo’s was celebrating a decade in the industry, an impressive milestone in the competitive and saturated market. Mlambo has showcased in platforms such as London Fashion Week Africa and South Africa Week in Milan.

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4. Diva by Brenda Quin : Quin has a unique eye for bright clashing prints and patterns that you wouldn’t usually pair together. Her dresses include feminine 50s and modern silhouette dresses.

5. House of Saint Luke: Young designer Mxolisi Luke Mkhize has come far in his career for his age and has showcased and featured in some of SA’s top fashion weeks and magazines. He has also styled some of our household entertainers and celebs such as the likes of Nomzamo Mbatha.


6. Zarth: Zarth by Zama Mathe is currently the most recognised Durban-based power fashion house. The Zarth high-end dresses and wedding gowns are a regular feature on our red carpet events

* See more from the designers herehttp://www.durbanfashionfair.com/ 

This piece was first published in the Cape Times, Sunday Tribune. See more of my work here: https://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty

Connect with me on Instagram  here:https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en


Celebrating Tourism Month

Archery in Parys

Trying my hand in Archiery at the Real adventures place in Parys, Free State province. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

My first road trip was with three of myvfriends. We planned the trip from Durban to Cape
Town in three months. We were young and carefree. We divided the trip into two parts with an overnight stay in Knysna.

For dinner we ate sushi for the first time, in a restaurant by the harbour. This was followed by a late night of drinking at the bar at the backpackers’ where we were staying before stumbling to our four-bunk bedroom in the early hours.

The next morning on the road was rough, we were tired, hungover and excited at the same time about reaching Cape Town. We arrived just before sunset at the Green Elephant backpackers in Observatory, our home for four nights.

The staff welcomed us with open arms and we formed friendships that are still alive today. We spent the days sightseeing in the CBD, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, sipping cocktails in Camps Bay and driving up Signal Hill.

2. Quad Biking in ParysPicture:Paballo Thekiso

The nights were spent playing pool in Lower Main Road Observatory and club-hopping in Long Street. Without realising it until the last night, we had spent most of our petrol money. Our parents came to our rescue, but not before scolding us for our irresponsible
behaviour. Memories from that trip remain fresh in my mind.

What made the trip extra special was we managed to save the little money we had at the time for an adventure that would see the four of us bonding… we learnt a lot about each other during the long drive in a small Corsa.

“I would like to think this trip ignited a lust for travel in each of us”

Since then, the four of us have travelled extensively in South Africa, as well as in Europe and the US. Contrary to what some might believe, one does not require a fat bank balanceto be able to travel, be it local or international. However, some saving and smart planning is key.

Common sense goes a long way. For example, buying a plane ticket a few months before you travel will be cheaper than booking the flight the day before you are due to travel.

In the past, I have taken the Greyhound bus to Durban to visit my family and overland trucks to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Namibia for holidays. The experiences are priceless.

New Image

Queening with the BaSotho women dressed in their traditional wear called Thebetha

“Venturing out of your comfort zone and learning about other people and cultures will teach you things about yourself and the world you won’t find in a textbook”



Enjoying a sunset cruise on the Vaal River. Picture by Paballo Thekiso.

One of my favourite Sho’t Left (domestic travels) trip include a visit to Joburg where I caught up with friends and family. On a recent trip there I spent a weekend in Soweto, which is home to some of South Africa’s world famous names, such as Nelson Mandela, and is known for history changing moments such as the 1976 Soweto student uprising.

During my stay there I visited the Mandela house in Vilakazi Street, a buzzing street lined with restaurants and cafés… a not so common sight for a township. There is an electrifying energy that hangs in the air that when I left, I felt empty .

Recently I paid a visit to my home town, but opted to stay at a hotel in the city centre instead of home as they were busy renovating. I saw Durban through the eyes of a tourist for the first time and I became one.

I visited art galleries, museums, took long leisurely walks on the beachfront promenade and discovered cafés where I spent hours watching people. I returned with a new-found appreciation for the city where people have no whims about striking up conversations with strangers. I realised how much I missed this simple act of ubuntu (human kindness) that is still alive there.


Last week I spent a week in the Free State visiting several towns. It was my first time there and I experienced a number of firsts. I learnt about towns I never knew existed, such as Vredefort near Parys.

I quad biked, I tried my hand at archery and went river rafting on the Vaal River. All these sporting activities were never on my to-do-list of fun things while on a holiday before this trip.

1. L-R Liam Joyce and Nontando Mposo river rafting in the Vaal RiverLiam and I slaying. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

September is tourism month, an annual celebration focusing on the importance of tourism for the economy. The theme for this year is Tourism For All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.

It aims to encourage everyone to explore and rediscover our country. So, round up a group of friends or family for a Sho’t Left somewhere.

Visit:www@shotleft.co.za for more travel inspiration. 


Connect with me and follow my adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58. 

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on September 2016. 


The girl in brown and black

Rizb 3Pictures by  Rizqua Barnes Richards

My look for SA Menswear Week Day 2 was lit. This faux leather two-toned outfit was goals. Paired with a Nontando original African Prints bomber jacket it was just fire, if I do say so myself;-)  I will be launching my range soon fashionistas, stay tuned.

Amazing photographer Rizqua Barnes Richards took these before the shows started. Check out her amazing work on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/rizqua_barnes/?hl=en.

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Nontando Wore What?  #Nontandoworewhat

Jacket: A Nontando Original

Skirt: Mr Price Fashion

Shoes: G-Star RAW

Bag: Adidas

Hat: Simon and Mary 

Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: Nontando58. https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

Photographers capture their cities series: Snapping up Durban

by Wade Weirdson

by Wade Weirdson

WADE WEIRDSON is a graphic designer and photographer. He calls himself a “proud Durbanite and creative enthusiast”.

Wade Weirdson

Wade Weirdson

What is the concept behind this shoot? My perception of the city of Durban is slightly unusual. I see the city as a lot of small and detailed segments that define us as being nothing more than unique.

The photographs capture characteristics of Durban, not as a place but a person
whom you’d meet.

What makes your city special? Durban is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the world. I might be patriotic, but we have the best weather suited for the warmest beaches in South Africa. From history, art, crafts, culture to our five-star hotels, accommodation and endless means of entertainment, no doubt we have all of it here.

Wade Weirdson

Wade Weirdson

Tell us what most people often overlook when visiting your city?
It’s not just the mesmerised tourists, it’s the hype and craze about the “031” that has everyone talking. Visitors who leave never forget our unmissable trademarks such as the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the creatively designed restaurant called Moyo at uShaka pier. It’s quite obvious we have some really unique architectural designs, but it’s our people that make your time in Durban unforgettable. Don’t get me started on our food (ie bunny chows).

What inspires you? The most random things inspire me. In terms of photography, my inspiration is mostly drawn from other forms of art.

What makes the good picture stand out from the average? No matter the design, art piece or photograph, creativity makes the good picture stand out from the average. The
subject of creativity is incredibly broad but can be used to your advantage if well executed. In most cases it’s your subjects that immediately reveal themselves to you.

How would you describe your photographic vision and style, and what kind of look do you try and create in your photos?
My photographic vision depends on what I shoot. Being a graphic designer too, means my adaptive style is applied differently to each shoot. However, when capturing my subjects I do try to maintain a timeless look with the help of the monochromatic and minimalistic photographic approach.

by Wade Weirdson

by Wade Weirdson

How important is it for a photographer to “connect” with his subjects to bring out their true self?
Those who have the opportunity of viewing your work have to understand the subject through you. It is very important to connect with the subject and become one with what you intend to shoot. We are no longer people who simply capture what we see, but document an entire story within a single capture.

by Wade Weirdson

by Wade Weirdson

Photographers like to show their audience something in their pictures, what do you hope to inspire with your work? Some prefer a response to how the colours are well balanced, etc, but no matter how weird it may get for the audience, being able to set a mood is incredibly important.Naturally I would prefer it when the audience has an emotional response to my work, in turn inspiring their inner artist.

If you could visit and photograph any place in the world that you haven’t been to before, where would that be?
I would definitely visit London. I am truly obsessed. Their architecture is absolutely breathtaking.

by Wade Weirdson

by Wade Weirdson

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on May 12 2015.