DESIGN FUTURES LAB 2022: Creating immersive digital fashion stories — Announcing the successful applicants
Electric South, Twyg and Crossover Labs are excited to announce the 18 creatives who are taking part in the Design Futures Lab 2022. The 18 participants make nine teams and bring together a diverse group of creative technologists, artists and digital storytellers to participate in the Lab.
This creative economy project, supported by the British Council #SouthernAfricaArts, offers the selected South African creators and artists an opportunity to develop experiential, provocative and immersive digital narratives about sustainable fashion and design. These narratives will help shape kinder, socially-engaged, inclusive and earth-friendly futures.
Meet the Creatives!
Kym Sylvan Fiala — Board of Directors at Pixel Chefs, Meta and SparkAR network partners
Kym is a fine arts graduate and co founder of Pixel Chefs, an award winning South African immersive solutions digital agency for 2021 and official SparkAR Network Partner. Kym specialises in creating augmented reality effects for brands on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Follow his instagram account to see more of his work.
Ntando Ngwenya — Creative Director at Ntando XV
The Ntando XV brand offers artisanal clothing, with unconventional design. Using both his professional experience and natural talents, Ntando Ngwenya has formulated a new genre in fashion, merging conservative and post-modern techniques to create a new representation for clothing. Using a syncopated technique in pattern engineering and by drafting intricate patterns, he introduces a new take on traditional methods by recreating popular styles in a contemporary light. Ntando XV interrogates not only the essence of clothing but the fantasy that can be delivered in practicality.. Find out more here
Lesiba Mabitsela — Founder of Lesiba Mabitsela Studio
Lesiba Mabitsela is an interdisciplinary artist and fashion designer currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. As an artist, Mabitsela’s work incorporates site-specific performances, fashion design and digital archiving with critical fashion and performance studies in his exploration of African masculine identities. As a designer, Mabitsela is known for engineering garments created under his avant-garde design house, Lesiba Mabitsela Studio. The fashion house’s signature design codes consist of transformable garments, asymmetrical silhouettes and forms of drapery re-interpreted from the African continent and its diaspora. These codes stem from a dedication to a design philosophy led by decolonial fashion practices and theory. In 2019, Mabitsela completed his master’s degree in theatre and performance at the University of Cape Town that was guided by the multidisciplinary studies offered under the auspices of the Institute for Creative Arts (formerly known as GIPCA). Mabitsela is also a founding member of the African Fashion Research Institute. Check out his social’s here
King Debs— Multimedia Artist at King Debs Studios
King Debs is a multimedia artist based in Cape Town, South Afrika. Working primarily in 3D digital art and his self-developed calligraphy, King Debs creates a unique aesthetic to transpose his ideas on identity and Afrikanism. His work deals with the notion of post-humanism within an Afrikan context. He is inspired by ‘trans-humanist’ ideology and the dystopian convergence of man and machine. Look at his Instagram here
Holly Bell Beaton — Head of Content at Connect Everything Collective Media
Holly Bell Beaton is first and foremost a wordsmith, having utilised the written word as the lens through which she translates the world around her. Beginning her career as a fashion writer, Holly has gone on to apply her critical analysis of design into the realms of art, music, sustainability and discourse; curating both journalistic pieces and brand identities for corporate entities and independent spaces. Having grown up during the print publication zeitgeist, her nostalgia for this era compels her to continue refining beautifully curated syntax for clients and audiences. Alongside writing, Holly is developing her art directorial and stylistic pursuits as a means to bring forth the visual abstractions of her inner world across tangible and meta-realities. See her Instagram and Facebook links to follow her “work”
SCUM BOY —Multimedia Artist at King Debs Studios
SCUM BOY aka Oliver Hunter Pohorille established himself in the industry with his unique style and visionary 3D animation. As a Gen-Z South African artist, Oliver developed a unique voice that translates into re-imagined human forms, complex textures and intricate worlds garnering the attention of brands such Paco Rabanne, Adidas, Reebok and Puma as well as exhibiting his artwork globally from Zimbabwe to London. Follow him on Instagram to see more of his work.
Sihle Sogaula — Independent researcher and MAFA candidate at the Michaelis School of Fine Art
Sihle Sogaula is a researcher and photographer living and working in Cape Town, South Africa. Her interests are in film photography as a meditative practice, fashion as emancipatory and embodied ritual, and unconventional research methodology. Using film photography, writing and making, her work explores the ways in which material things can hold many truths at once, how memory objects are invocations of the present as much as they are invocations of the past. More broadly, her work is interested in the relationship between the index and the referent, lived experiences and memories contained within objects of significance, the thing we see and the thing we remember. Follow her work on Instagram and Twitter.
Siviwe James— Conceptual Fashion Practitioner and Research Assistant at African Fashion Research Institute
Siviwe James is a fashion practitioner/thinker who works as a Research Assistant for the African Fashion Research Institute (AFRI), seeking out and creatively interrogating the fragments of fashion that allude to the psychologies, histories and disruptions of African fashion that have limited, but also hold potential for, African creatives to materialise new ideals of modernity. James produces and presents collaborative video and audio; sutured renderings that trace the hauntings of archives by material, textual and visual references that refuse to remain silent. She has presented at the LCF Digital Symposium 2021, the Fashion Education Multilogue 2021 and the PARSE biennial research conference, on Violence. Follow her conceptual snd creative work here
Masego Shiho Morgan — Sustainable Fashion Advocate and Practitioner
Masego Morgan (b.1996) is a sustainable fashion advocate, residing in Cape Town. Although she has no formal fashion training, she’s had a passion for fashion and apparel from a young age and started sharing her slow fashion journey online in 2016, as @coconut_cracked.
Natalie-Ann Paneng — Multi-Disciplinary Artist
Natalie Paneng (b.1996) received her BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand in 2018 and was awarded the Leon Gluckman Prize for the best piece of creative work in Dramatic Arts. She lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Natalie makes use of both her self-taught digital skills and theatre background to create multidisciplinary digital art/new media. Paneng’s work has been exhibited at TMRW Gallery, The National Arts Festival, Blank Projects, Michaelis School of Fine Art, BKHz Gallery, Suburbia Contemporary, Javett Art UP and Galerie Eigen Art Leipzig. Along with this she has participated in local artist residencies such as Bubblegumclub Future 76 Residency(2018), Floating Reverie(2019) and Fak’ugesi Digital Innovation Artist Residency (2019) and The Centre of A Less Good Idea’s So Academy’s ‘Thinking in Cardboard’ sceneographers mentorship (2021)
Through her work she explores what it means to have an online presence, the persona’s we develop online and how the Internet and its algorithms control and influence us and our perceived reality. Her video work and art become a way for her to interrogate as well as share how she manifests and navigates the world she lives in and creates for herself. The internet is MTV and she welcomes you to her crib. Paneng describes herself as a world- builder and sees her growing practice as a way to navigate, share and archive imagined and alternative realities brought to life through digital artistic process. Follow the Multi-Disciplinary Artist on Instagram
Khumo Morojele — Designer and Creative Director
Khumo Morojele is a young aspiring designer and (creative) director, born in Los Angeles and raised in the east of Johannesburg. His first taste for fashion came from seeing his mother sell imported clothing to her networks of black women friends, where her habits of pressuring him to constructively critique collections of clothing for her to sell sparked Khumo’s passion for seeing the beauty in dress. Straight out of high school, Khumo bought a sewing machine and never looked back. His curiosity for learning more about fashion and its respective disciplines led him to places he never thought he would go to. Since then, Khumo has completed and been a part of several online international courses and workshops/programmes involving fashion especially focusing on sustainability and slow fashion. See more of his work here
Mbangiso ‘Baso’ Mabaso — Founder and Creative Director of Sisanda Tech
Mbangiso ‘Baso’ Mabaso is a self-taught game developer passionate about Product Design, the emotions that a product evokes in users, and philosophy. Baso has a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Central University of Technology. Baso founded Sisanda Tech, which won MTN Business App of the year awards Most Innovative Solution in 2019 for its augmented reality virtual science lab Sisanda App Universe. Baso is the proud owner of the first chesa nyama in the metaverse called HaMmabongi. Baso has recently been accepted for the Design Indaba Emerging Creative Class of 2022. Besides all this Baso is a supermalume(uncle) to Tumi and Retha. Find out more about Mbangiso here and more about Sisanda Tech here
Ian Xoli Mangenga — CEO & Founder, Digital Girl Africa
“Advocacy is what I do. Tech and design is how I do it. Access and inclusion is why I do it”. Ian Mangenga, is a social designer who enjoys creating spaces and products that bring women together around technology to learn, work and play in the digital realm. As the founder of Digital Girl Africa, a digital hub that uses social tech to bridge the gap between technology and women in Africa, her mission is to build a digital playground for women, by women. Ian’s passion for technology and design reaches far deep into other disciplines such as fashion and cultural studies with a focus on African material cultures. She explores these through different archiving methods such as documentary filmmaking and urban photography. Follow her here
Sithandiwe Khumalo — Fashion Designer at Truworths
Sithandiwe Khumalo is a fashion designer based in Cape Town with seven years of experience in the retail industry. Khumalo currently works for a big fashion retailer focused on design and trend forecasting. See more of her creative work here
Matthew Edwards — Designer for the brand Matte and Co-Founder of Big Circle Studios
Matthew Edwards is a multi-disciplinary experimental designer from Johannesburg. He has worked closely with Adidas South Africa reimagining sustainable footwear in the South African context and sells his designs through his own brand: Matte. Matthew also co-founded the Not-for-profit Big Circle Studios which seeks to expand on Johannesburg’s progression to a circular economy, interacting with grassroots waste systems and experimenting; and redesigning processes and products to replace our wasteful reliance on single use plastic. Follow him on his platform here and personal profile here
Xzavier Zulu — Founder of Xzavier Zulu
South African art director, upcycler and creative consultant Xzavier Zulu — also known as Ricky Kunene, came to prominence as one of the faces and storytellers behind multidisciplinary creative collective, The Sartists. He has since become one of the emerging voices within the conversation of sustainability and circular fashion with his ever-evolving upcycling series, EVERYTHING IS A SAMPLE, which sees him share his love of denim and unique co-op design upcycling process to create “one-of-none” pieces created from thrifted denim garments. You can see more of their work here
Tamzyn Botha — Founder and Director of Shade
Limb is a visual artist whose work indulges play and improvisation through video, sculpture, costume and performance. Married to memory, Limb explores the world of discarded objects and waste by weaving societiy’s seemingly superfluous trinkets into reimagined worlds of reflection. She is an habitual hoarder, sculptural collagist and object mutilator and consistently evident in her work is that the history of an item’s former existence is equally as important to the work that it becomes. Waste sites, scrap yards and bagarezi trolleys are her main source of inspiration in mapping the underbelly of ousted objects across littered geographies. Make do and make of. Limb runs a community project space/gallery — Shade, in Johannesburg. Shade is home to Waste Not Want Not (an artist residency programme and intersection between waste reclaimers, artists and youth), a weekly creative arts programme for Brixton youth and the creative direction of the Brixton Light Festival.
Tinyiko Makwakwa — Maker/Textile and Fiber Art Practitioner
Tinyiko’s studio practice is an experimental practice that shows a deep respect for the interwoven narratives of materials, the landscape and the making process, through the use of needle work techniques related to repair and repurposing garments as well as the ecological process of cultivating coloraturas through organic and inorganic pigment. Follow the creative here
The Design Futures Lab will run virtually from 14–18 March 2022 , and in-person from 23–25 March 2022 in Cape Town.
Congratulations to the teams who will join the lab for the opportunity to prototype their ideas together with some of the best creatives in sustainable fashion and design, and with the support of project partners Electric South, Twyg and Crossover Labs.