I had the pleasure to do a photographic documentary on the self taught,greatly talented and dynamic designer Sandile behind the brand Duke. I didn't want to just take photos ( every photographer can do that) I wanted to get to know the man behind the sewing machine and how he became one of Durban's most iconic Street brands, convey his message,inspiration and journey in building a range through my lens
A placid man, Sandile spoke about his roots ,his love for fashion and took me through his studio and how the journey of his latest collection which was aimed at unifying the sexes through silhouettes,his unisex collection was clad with tailoring.
It was an amazing experience to see a master like him sketch his vision,chose fabrics,cut patterns and put to together through thread a tangible garment.He is definitely one of those individuals who instead of telling you a story,he makes you part of the cast and my gratitude was well received!
Sandile : Name: Sandile Duke Mngadi
Brand: DUKE "Clothe Your Soul"
I am a self-taught fashion designer. Born and raised in Umlazi.
Started designing as hobby during his Electrical Engineering Course study breaks... The passion and the realization for design started to grow after more and more started to show interest of my work.
Was also encouraged by designer Craig Native to carry on making good clothing after he saw me wearing my creations.
The style for my clothing line is "Afro Funk" where I infuse Africa and European elements.
Africa mostly represented by Earthly inspired colors and prints and the retro culture.
My main inspirational source comes from the "Masses"... That helps me think out of the box when I design. This way I am aware the market I am designing for.
Description for my range will be "progressive design with strong sense of individuality".
Simz: Ayt bro tell me about this particular collection, what inspired it?
Sandile: For this particular collection.
Basically I was aiming in tackling social issues. Particularly "Gender Issues"...
So I went with the "Genderless/Non-Gender" Fashion Trend for my Fall Winter '17 Collection.
The name of the collection is The Modern Classics.
The color is inspired by the washed down Caribbean old beach houses walls.
I call it 'Washed Down Denim Blue'...
What a better way to equally represent femininity and masculinity then "The Houndstooth Check". Equally White, as it is equally Blue.
Introducing flawlessly flared Capes for Men and Hoodie fully tailored jacket that represents crossing over the usual boundaries... Men's tuxedo shirts with different chest details, from pin-tucks, ruffles and cut-out
Also having structured fully tailored Power Jacket and Coat that sweeps the floor for women, with flared bottom classic pants.
The collection screams " Modern Classics"
Duke: I wanna start showcasing internationally and also penetrating the International Market.
I wanna start with Swahili Fashion, Ghana Fashion Week and Nigeria Fashion Week.
Then I can pursuit European Market after I've conquered Africa.
I know how hard it was for me to tap into the industry and be recognized as one the best Self-trained Menswear Fashion Designer.
So I wanna give proper guidance to our future fashion experts... Teach them all the basics they need to start up or grow their fashion businesses.
That's my 5year goal.
You can check out Duke's stuff on instagram :
There you have it folks.
I really enjoyed this part of the Elle Style reporter search.
I can't wait for the next stage!!! ( That's if I make it)
In the meantime find me on instagram aswell :