Phumelela Malinga is a mechanical engineer with an incredible passion for fashion. His journey in the industry began in 2018 when he teamed up with a fashion designer to create his first clothing line.
Following a positive response to the line, he decided to undertake a part-time course on creative fashion design at the Lisof School of Fashion Design in Johannesburg. While studying, he launched his fashion brand 'by Phume'.
His first independent project, 'FEMININE/MASCULINE (F/M)', was inspired by the variety of cuts, colours and prints found in contemporary women's wear and the lack thereof in menswear. By dancing between these avenues, he came up with an androgynous line that is neither feminine nor masculine. The line also challenges social constructs of what can and cannot be worn by both sexes. Malinga incorporates a lot of colour and prints in his work.
He believes that having an African perspective gives designers an edge when producing innovative designs. Malinga aims to set trends that will take their place in the ever-growing South African fashion industry.
According to the young designer, the 'by Phume' brand mission is to provide quality, locally manufactured androgynous apparel for all body types. He uses fashion design as a platform to communicate a message and believes that for as long as there is something to stand for, he will always be working and producing art.