Meet the makers

Design Indaba Emerging Creative Jessie Zinn highlights South African fashion icons in a new video series.
Photographs: Jessie Zinn.
Photographs: Jessie Zinn.

To mark the Confections x Collections high-fashion-meets-high-tea event that took place at the end of 2023 at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, local director and 2023 Design Indaba Emerging Creative Jessie Zinn created films with three of the designers involved, offering a sparkling snapshot into the creative communities of South Africa.


Zinn, a 30-year-old filmmaker and Master of Fine Arts graduate of Stanford University, who regularly puts her directing skills to work tackling themes of girlhood, freedom and coming of age, was selected as one of the 2023 Design Indaba Emerging Creatives. This year, following another successful period of directing and producing, she was chosen by the Belmond Mount Nelson to capture the ‘Meet the Makers’ series with three fashion designers: Palesa Mokubung, Sindiso Khumalo and Chu Suwannapha.


Each of the designer’s collections for the event was inspired by the theme ‘African luxury lore’, a concept described as being ‘steeped in storytelling that explores the richness of African cultures and customs while redefining luxury codes’. Each of the fashion brands also has an ethical focus on community, care and inclusion, and cultivates a culture of consciousness that proposes more meaningful engagement with luxury fashion.


The first of the three shorts, available to watch on YouTube, is centred around SIndiso Khumalo. Known for her playful, contemporary take on classic designs and inspired by pioneering black women from the 18th and 19th centuries, this former Design Indaba conference speaker sees fashion as an opportunity to think of new ways to create.


Palesa Mokubung, the star of the second short video, has always been inspired by strong women, and conceived of her brand, Mantsho, as a way to empower female leaders through exaggerated silhouettes and references to traditional African fabrics.


Known as South Africa’s ‘prince of prints’, Chulaap Suwannapha is the third subject of the ‘Meet the Makers’ series. Suwannapha blends the visual vernaculars of his home country of Thailand with his adopted home of Cape Town. Inspired by a variety of things, from majestic Cape nature to how people dress at the city’s taxi rank, his collections have a thoughtful and often profound connection to place.


Watch all three episodes of the series here


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