Average reading time: 4 minutes.

In the quest for a more sustainable future, young designers are using their creativity and talent to promote ethical and environmentally-friendly practices in the fashion industry. Today, we spotlight four female South African fashion designers who are trailblazing with their bold and innovative designs, whilst prioritizing sustainability and promoting positive change in their communities.

Fikile Sokhulu

Fikile Sokhulu
Image by Nikk Martin

First on the list is Fikile Sokhulu. She is a South African fashion designer who launched her eponymous brand in 2018. Sokhulu’s designs are unique and experimental, blending traditional African aesthetics with contemporary silhouettes and materials. She often incorporates bold prints and vibrant colors into her pieces, creating a striking visual impact. Sokhulu is also committed to promoting sustainability and ethical production practices in the industry, using environmentally-friendly materials and working with local artisans to support the growth of the industry in South Africa.

Sokhulu’s work has been featured in various publications and fashion events, including South African Fashion Week and the Durban Fashion Fair. With her talent and dedication, she is sure to continue making a mark in the world of fashion for years to come.

Mikhilé du Plessis

Mikhile du Plessis founder of Mekay Design

Mikhilé du Plessis, founder of Mekay Design, is a designer who infuses her work with a bright local style that is uniquely South African. With a passion for sustainability and a focus on using locally-sourced materials, Mikhilé’s designs are not only visually stunning but also environmentally conscious.

Her brand prioritizes the use of organic fabrics and minimal waste production methods, while also upcycling old clothing to create new and unique pieces. Her love of color and pattern is evident in every piece she creates, drawing inspiration from the natural beauty of her homeland and celebrating the diversity and vibrancy of South African culture.

Emelia Dorcas

Image by @sallyhateswing

Emelia Dorcas, based in Cape Town, has a unique approach to her craft. Her signature style of creating bold, contemporary clothing with a focus on sustainability and ethical production practices never goes unnoticed. Emelia’s designs are known for their innovative use of materials, which often involve recycled or repurposed fabrics.

Her commitment to sustainability is evident in every piece she creates, with a strong emphasis on minimising waste and reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Her designs are also inspired by her African heritage, incorporating traditional African prints and motifs into her contemporary pieces.

Her work has been featured in various local and international fashion shows and exhibitions, earning her a reputation as a rising star in the African fashion scene.

Thando Ntuli

Thando Ntuli founder of Munkus
Image by @thekiso_mokhele

Thando Ntuli is the founder and creative director of Munkus, a South African fashion brand that is gaining recognition for its bold and innovative designs. Thando draws inspiration from African culture, streetwear, and avant-garde fashion. The brand’s collections are known for their striking use of color, unconventional silhouettes, and attention to detail. Thando is also passionate about using fashion as a tool for social change, collaborating with organisations to empower young people through fashion and promote inclusivity and diversity in the industry.

With a growing fanbase both in South Africa and abroad, Thando Ntuli and Munkus are definitely the ones to watch in the world of fashion. Munkus has been featured across various fashion magazines and worn by a number of high-profile individuals, including South African comedian Trevor Noah.

These young designers prove that fashion can be both innovative and socially responsible. Their unique perspectives and dedication to positive change in the industry make them designers to watch in the years to come. With a growing fanbase both in South Africa and abroad, these designers are sure to continue making a mark in the world of fashion.

We are truly impressed by their bravery to take on the fashion world with change and we can’t wait to see how they continue to grow.


Words | Wilke-Marie Hamman
Editor | Shayna Van As
Feature image by @sallyhateswing