As part of the Ubuntu International Project, South African designers, Stiaan Louw, Heni Este-Hijzen and Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa Knitwear debuted at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, London Fashion Weeks largest independent showcase. This debut for the three South African designers showcasing them to an international audience through catwalk shows, presentations, fashion films and exhibitions.

These three designers represented a South African Fashion Collective that showcases and identifies a unique Pan South African design signature that is in creative process, translatable in an International fashion market , an aesthetic that is not geographically confined but can be African and Eurocentric at the same time. The London Fashion Week showcase was geared towards introducing and promoting this aesthetic to the Press, Fashion Industry Movers and Shakers and International Business Community and used the designers unique stories of cultural and artistic influence and inspiration as a collective promotional tool.

Following the success of 2011 debut showcase of three South African designers, Ubuntu International Project threw a wider net by introducing modern  heritage aesthetics from South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria at London Fashion Week February 2012.

Opening the show with South African born Clinton Lotter and his classic but edgy debut collection which screamed elegance with a raw African energy. The words of Nelson Mandela echoing in our minds “we are only people because of other people, we are all human” set the tone for the whole show and a new vision of Africa.
Jose Hendo a fabulous and extravagant collection was another favourite of the day. This eco friendly collection was made up of re-useable materials and the focus of the collection demonstrated that Eco from Africa can be trendy and even avant-garde.
Other South African designers took to the catwalk to truly demonstrate the diversity and unique creativity that Africa has to offer the fashion world. Frankli Wild jewellery consisted of an impressive concoction golf balls, diamonds, crystals and more. The beauty of this collection was the combination of everyday objects into pieces of jewellery to be admired and helped to highlight; in the words of the designer Kevin Friedman “if something is beautiful, I think it deserves to exist”.
“Afro Eco” and other slogans of global empowerment for Africa such as “Trade not Aid” and more came up the catwalk with energy and confidence. T-shirts made from African cotton manufactured in Africa was the embodiment of Ubuntu Projects new vision for Africa’s Fashion Industry.

At Vauxhall Fashion Scout in February 2012, Ubuntu International Project once again had the eyes of the fashion world fixed to its collections. A showcase which sets the tone for design from the African continent now has the attention of celebrities, luxury brands and government organisations alike.

The Ubuntu team are not intrepidly dipping their toe into fashion waters somewhere on the periphery of where the trend-makers are. They are boldly thrusting themselves and African designers into the mainstream fashion spotlight and are daring to challenge and redefine what the African aesthetic is at the same time.

The London 2012 Summer Olympics saw the arrival of the Ekhaya Fashion Showcase at London’s South Bank. Ubuntu International Project partnered with Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) to deliver the inaugural South African fashion showcase which took place at The Queen Elizabeth Hall on 4th August 2012, showcasing the work of 9 top South African designers.

The showcase, part of a concept known as Ekhaya was developed to inspire the world to visit South Africa and experience the culture of Ubuntu. The narrative based showcase featured designers from diverse backgrounds: story telling expressed through the medium of fashion. Months prior SRSA carefully selected designers from across South Africa, promoting social solidarity and common citizenship.

Designers showcased in true rainbow nation style: collections featured traditional, ethnic, bridal, avant garde, classic and contemporary fashion using a plethora of fabrics and techniques.

The theme of the showcase widely covered South Africa’s colourful history, with a fusion of colonial, rural, urban and the new South Africa.

Featured designers were Clinton Lotter, Craig Jacobs, MosewaMosa, Rubicon, Naked Ape, PalseHomme, Sibu Msimang, Gugulam and Suzaan Heyns. Each collection covered a specific narrative, accompanied by iconic South African music by legends.

The entire event was livestreamed online with over 100,000 viewers.