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Motivated through the spirit of service, some of the fundamental aspects of the Lukhanyo Mdingi label has been guided by purpose. During the course of 2021 the label has established partnerships with the French Institute of South Africa as well as the Geothe-Institute South Africa to work on a mentorship programme to assist in aiding aspiring designers through the preservation of craft & research.

The ‘True Fashion: Try On Green Programme’ had the objective of reimagining the fashion of the future in response to the challenges posed by fast fashion and the environmental impact of the textile industry. As one of the mentors on this program, the LM label was able to facilitate the importance of mentorship within the practice of design. To nurture the foundations of future designers is to also nurture their entrepreneurial capabilities, and in turn create communities. We have seen how mentorship brings a larger audience to emerging designers and this is incredibly valuable for the longevity within any vision label or brand.

The chosen designers (Nkosazana Hlalethwa, Xola Maxoba, Burton Miles, Khumo Morojele and Zovuyo Mputa) engaged in a six-week mentorship experience facilitated by the panel members. The program delved into techniques such as upcycling and incorporating sustainable materials, which were both instructed and put into practice during the duration of the program. In return, our own emphasis on mentorship was able to be ignited and continues to be instrumental in the label’s emphasis on education and skills-development.

Lukhanyo Mdingi is currently part of the Advisory Board of Committee for the DAF (Design Academy of Fashion) South Africa, Cape Town.