‘The Colourful World of the Xhosa Culture'(men’s knitwear)
Description of the design:
‘The Colourful World of the XhosaCulture’
are men’s knitting pattern designs that were inspired by
traditional Xhosa bead work.
The patterns are a delicate balance between what is beautiful and decorative, as well as being a fragmented expression of the designer’s identity.
These patterns may act as tools in the composition of his products, but they simultaneously create a conversation between the formal nature on which the pattern exists and what the pattern can be interpreted to represent.
The influences on the design:
Ngxokolo discovered his obsession with pattern design at high school.
His designs earned him a bursary and first prize at the South Africa
Society of Dyers and Colourists Design Competition in London.
Ngxokolois fascinated with the interaction between colour and space, as well as apattern’s technical properties.
He says: ‘While colour, rhythm and style are important to me when designing a pattern, it is the ability to attach an identity of a certain group, culture or subculture to a pattern that takes a pattern beyond a decorative nature.’
But a pattern cannot be designed just for the sake of itself.
Designing a pattern is a highly intuitive process,
according to Ngxokolo. He knows something is pattern potential when
he’s able to look at what inspires him and it speaks to him, revealing its
distinctive characteristics, its visual relevance to the environment and a
His knit wear jerseys were inspired by the need for Xhosa-
culture initiates to wear clothing that was more representative of their culture once they had completed their initiation ceremony. ‘
When a boy is initiated into manhood, they are required to burn all their old belongings and buy new possessions to show that they have made this transition,’ explains Ngxokolo.
‘But Pringle was just about the only choice in high quality
men’s knitwear and I felt that the clothing should show their heritage
proudly and be more culturally relevant and authentic.’
His patterns draw inspiration from traditional Xhosa beadwork motifs and other African cultures.
Nonetheless,he is also aware that while ethnicity is the
foundation for his patterns, his designs should also contain a more
modern flair in order to appeal to the increasingly fashionable youth.