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The
Accelerator
Designers

After careful deliberation of over 250 applications, our expert judging panel chose these 6 designers to participate in the EFI Accelerator programme...

REIGN

We studied together at Durban University of Technology which is where we met in 2015 during our first year of Fashion Design & Textiles. The fashion institution only accepted a few select intake of passionate and unique designers which is where our paths joined. This is where we collaborated on our first projects and expressed fashion concepts, creative ideas and shared opinions. Little did we know that upon graduating we’d have combined our eponymous brands (Sipho Mbuto & Ben Nozo) to create REIGN; a brand that narrates African culture reimagined with traces of Eastern and Western influences.

We’ve continued to explore various aesthetics and dedicate our work to the fashion industry since. We’ve always enjoyed attending art galleries, fashion shows, functions and events. We actively enrol in fashion learning programs to be mentored as well as mentor and inspire like minds by engaging in tutorials and workshops to further our knowledge and that of those around us.

Margaux Wong

I am Margaux Rusita, a Guyanese/Burundian Sustainable Designer based in Burundi, East Africa. My company, Margaux Wong, is an Innovative Sustainable brand which practices the amazing transformation of rare cow horn and brass into luxurious, beautiful wearable ART. I have been passionately working as an ethically driven designer for more than 18 years and my designs are heavily influenced by my everyday experiences.

As Creative Director, I am constantly working with my team in an attempt to produce uniquely distinguished artisan jewellery using tedious traditional techniques. My PASSION to see my vision come to pass and the love I possess for sustainability has sparked the imagination and has inspired hundreds of young people whom I have been blessed to mentor over the last ten years in Burundi. I aspire to make a lasting impact across the globe, as I pursue my mission to connect people through ART, LOVE and PASSION.

Lukhanyo Mdingi

There’s a notion that feels quite visceral and honest when thinking about our label.  I believe coming from a small coastal town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa instilled a languid sensibility within me that you’ll find in our collections.

After graduating from Cape Peninsula University in 2015, it was our participation in the PITTI UOMO Immagine A/W17 Generation Africa in Florence that set the momentum for the labels trajectory.

We’ve found that the spirit of time has yielded us to create collections that have a certain steadiness to it. Season after season we’re constantly looking at the essentials and refining each style, creating a certain kind of desirability and elegance has become part of the practice of creating a timeless wardrobe.

Our intention is to collectively create a body of work that has a sense of soulfulness to it, work that is steady, solid and strong.

WUMAN

I am Ekwerike Chukwuma, a Nigerian fashion artist who strives to tell stories through his art and garments. Inspired by the female anatomy which I fell in love with during my medical school days at University. My journey into fashion has been one filled with challenges, sacrifices, surprises and success. My art/fashion is a way of expressing my thoughts distinctly. I draw inspiration from my daily life, relationships, thoughts around my heritage, observations, abstraction, architecture, geometry and affinities to create works that are engaging.

Art for me is the treasure of constantly discovering myself. I see fashion and art to exist in a sort of feto-maternal relationship and I draw from this to create garments that are not just visually appealing but also culturally stimulating, contemporary and furthers highlights my African heritage.

WUMAN is the product of my journey and is one that uplifts the African heritage.

Jiamini

“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her;  by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes”.  

Each day I piece together strings of beads that tell not just my story, but that of the world I live in today.  Highly driven by passion and an intuitive eye for design I find ways to transform traditional pieces into contemporary jewellery, not just through design, but in telling a generational story inspired by the past, for the present, yet still relevant in the future. 

I’m continuously working to help communities rise above poverty through economic empowerment while promoting sustainable development solutions through design at Jiamini, a brand that artistically expresses the world of Creativity through its rich cultural heritage, influenced by traditional techniques and craftsmanship. I continue to artistically challenge myself, push boundaries in the creative process, using the past, present and future world as my backdrop for inspiration in the creation of my one of a kind wearable pieces.

De La Sebure

I am Bernie Seb, the founder of De La Sebure. Born in Ouagadougou, I lived there till seventeen. After completing my studies in a well known French Business School, I started working as a financial auditor at KPMG. After three enriching years, the creative I am was suffocating in this fanciless world. That urge for freedom lead me to quit and go back to my passions by launching my brand in 2014.

As I grew up to a mom being involved in a lot of NGO’s – training and empowering women – working with my home country and having a social impact was natural. Self trained, I jumped in the adventure by opening my workshop in Burkina, with the idea of presenting a new vision of African fashion and particularly, challenging the gender rules and toxic masculinity we tend to have in our African Cultures.

With EFI, a new and bigger adventure begins.

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