Q&A: Fikile Sokhulu became a fashion designer to bring her illustrations to life

by | May 7, 2021

Durban-based designer Fikile Sokhulu has been intriguing us ever since she was a fashion student at Durban University of Technology. After graduating in 2017, she has focussed on developing her feminine, nostalgic and whimsical Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu brand. Last week she showed her new collection, Willow (see main feature and gallery below), at SA Fashion Week. We sent her a few questions.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I have always wanted to be in a creative space. I love illustrating and I am a fan of art. It became clear that I wanted to be a fashion designer when I realised that I wanted to bring a drawing into life, and because I look forward to working with my hands. I wanted to create products from illustrations.

What challenges have you had to overcome?

Sustaining a business can be challenging – a hopeful mind-set is required.

What is the inspiration behind your collections and your style?

Femininity and nature. I am inspired by nature, the idea of being feminine and the concept of organic triggers the silhouettes that I create. In most cases conceptual ideas transpire into stories through the technical means of fashion. I collect strings of stories I intend to tell and then I create a fashion collection.

Your designs appear delicate at a glance, but they are richly layered and texture. Do they reflect you, Fikile?

My work does reflect who I am as an individual. Simplicity is intricacy. At heart I am an introvert hence there is simplicity to my designs. Intricacy is a side I show people I am close to, hence as one gets closer to a garment I have created different layers and design detail become more visible. The closer you get the more you know. I am inspired by looking at the layers of how I express myself through a design.

What materials do you use and from where are they sourced?

Mostly I work with cotton, cotton blend fabric for instance calico, 100% cotton, cotton voile and I often source them from Durban.

Working in an industry that contributes heavily to our carbon footprint and to waste in landfills, what design decisions do you make to alleviate this?

Some designs are made from biodegradable fabrics such as cotton and calico. 100% Cotton is made from natural fibres, it is biodegradable.

Tell us about your collaboration with Mr Price?

Collaborating with Mr Price was a dream. It was the first time that I worked with a major retail store. I am hopeful in the future that I get another opportunity to work with a retail company and that I will be able to create an upstream presence. My immediate plan is to work on progressing my latest collection called ‘Willow’.

Do you think fashion can address social divisions in our society?

Fashion is a reflection of the current state of society, it is important that it is inclusive of all cultural, racial, ethnic and religious phenomena.

Who is your role model?

My role model is Thebe Magugu.

What one word best describes your work?

Feminine

Spring Summer 21 Collection

Credits

SA Fashion Week images:

  • Eunice Driver | @eunicedriverphotography supplied by @safashionweek
  • Lizmarie Richardson | @lrphotographysa supplied by @safashionweek
  • Maleéne Hinrichsen | @maleene__h supplied by @safashionweek

Other one is supplied.

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