20Q: Nkhensani Nkosi

She's one of South Africa's favourite design success stories. Nkhensani Nkosi is also dynamic and very passionate about this country.
Nkhensani Nkosi.
Nkhensani Nkosi.

In the 10 years since Nkhensani Nkosi launched her local fashion label, Stoned Cherrie, she has been going from strength to strength to catwalk to retail space to fashion awards and a homeware range. Her designs are rewriting history and helping to change the way South Africans feel about themselves. And she believes that with a extra bit of love, great things are possible.

1. Can design save the world? Design can save the world because our definition of what design is has changed with the introduction of more eco-friendly design mechanisms and ideas. This however does not preclude man from taking responsibility for changing our attitudes and beliefs on how we treat the world around us. No design on its own, without us infusing love and respect, can sustain change.

2. What is your present state of mind? I am in a good space, energised, serene and blissfully creative.

3. What is your greatest achievement to date? My greatest achievements to date have been New York Fashion Week, contributing to the opening ceremony of the World Cup and being in business for 10 years.

4. What would you most like to change about the world? I think we need more love. If we each performed random acts of love everyday, I believe we can change the way we see and relate to each other and ourselves.

5. Do you recycle? Yes we do. We recycle glass.

6. What is your most treasured possession? My family.

7. Are you passionate about South Africa? South Africa is DYNAMIC. I like to think of it as the rose that grew out of the concrete or even coal that under extreme pressure produces diamonds.

8. Who in the world, alive or dead, would you most like to have a drink with? I always imagine myself having a cup of Ayurvedic Vata tea with Madiba. What a soothing experience that would be.

9. Do you have a creative/business muse? No. My inspiration comes from different things at different times.

10. If you had to live inside a work of art, which piece would it be? I love George Pemba’s pencil drawing "Running Away From School".

11. What is the opposite of design? "The opposite of design for me would be stagnation. This conjures images and feelings of a soulless almost primal way of life. Being able to innovate and appreciate beauty are some of the things that make life wonderful." - Thabani Mavundla (Stoned Cherrie designer)

12. What advice would you give to emerging creatives? Be authentic, be inspired and be passionate.

13. What are the (seven) wonders of the design world?

  • Mapungubwe artifacts
  • Sam Nhlengethwa
  • Ndebele style
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Zwelethu Mthethwa
  • Dior
  • Yohji Yamamoto
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. And insanity is relative: I prefer to talk about energy. We all operate on different energy planes, sometimes high, other times calm and almost surreal. Whatever that energetic matrix or plane is, it’s always beautiful if one can tap into it for a beautiful result, which is what creativity is to me.

15. What's one thing that you haven't done that you would really like to do? I haven’t had tea with Madiba yet.

16. How do you define creative success? Success is individual. When one is authentic with their art and can take genuine pride in what they do, that for me is creative success.

17. If not design, what would you do? I would definitely go back to the theatre and writing or painting, which I was very passionate about.

18. What is your favourite book? The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

19. What's your pet hate? Hate is too strong, I think disappointing or disheartening is more appropriate for what I feel when people don’t harness or tap into their creative pool to produce original authentic and dynamic work.

20. What's been your favourite project to date? Stoned Cherrie is my favorite project.