Leandi Mulder: Redefining African fashion

Leandi Mulder is one of the designers that showcased their works at the recently concluded South Africa Fashion Week SAFW2017, she is currently studying to complete her Bachelor of Technology in fashion. She is one of those redefining the African fashion landscape, we find her works inspiring and thought let you in on some inspiration. […]

Leandi Mulder is one of the designers that showcased their works at the recently concluded South Africa Fashion Week SAFW2017, she is currently studying to complete her Bachelor of Technology in fashion.

She is one of those redefining the African fashion landscape, we find her works inspiring and thought let you in on some inspiration. Enjoy our chat and see her works in the slide show.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I have always been engrossed in design and clothing. I came to a point in my early twenties when I was searching for a different career direction. At that time, an interest sparked in textile design, snowballing my journey to where I am now.

Of the many vocations available, what made you take fashion as a
career path?

My career path in fashion started at 25. I had already dabbled in a few different directions by then, but when I started studying fashion design, I knew this was the route for me.
Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?
Making clothing at a younger age was self-taught. My mother and grandmother taught me the basics growing up. The real work however, started in 2014 when I enrolled in a fashion design course at Durban University of Technology.
How has your work evolved since you started out?
My work has evolved drastically. I have become a much more conceptually grounded designer and of course, technically equipped.
Have your pieces become more appealing to people as a result?
It’s easy to spot a well-made garment and clients are obviously more interested in my pieces since I have been a fashion student. I also think my influences and philosophies in design that has grown in the last few years, have an edge that people find attractive.
Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?
Clothing from fast-fashion retail stores.
Talking about your designs, do you focus primarily on a particular culture or are there other areas of interest?
I used to live as an educator in Japan for two years. The Japanese way of life and aesthetic philosophies had a definite influence on my art. I’m also inspired by the visual elements of immediate
cultures around me.

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Does your approach differ when designing menswear compared to womenswear?
I have done minimal menswear design at this point. I am however interested in creating silhouettes that have an agendered appeal, crossing boundaries of traditionally male and female silhouettes.
How is your work received internationally?
Currently I am still a new player in the fashion game so there hasn’t been much opportunity for international exposure. I am hopeful for what is to come in the future.
How do influences from outside of your native country find their way into your work?
During my stay abroad, I spent time amongst different communities, cultures and religions. Many of these experiences have stuck with me and filter into my silhouettes.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I would change the word “fascinated” into consumed; and say that I am consumed at the moment in an ideology of sustainable fashion design. We are living in an era of global distress with waste production, over-consumption and resource depletion. I strive to create eco-conscious clothing. My most recent collection was made completely of up-cycled jeans and fabrics; transformed into innovative styles.
How was your experience at the recently concluded SAFW?
Amazing. It was an immense privilege to showcase as such a young designer, on this platform.
Has it brought new businesses and inspiration?
It was incredibly inspirational to be up-close with so many wonderful designers. We have some fantastic talent in South Africa and it has motivated me to push my creativity further.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
This business is hard work, with countless hours put in that will never reach the lucrative levels that you might hope for. The reward of seeing people understand and appreciate your art is however, priceless.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Design mindfully. Work harder than you need to. Practice innovation. Adopt and eco-conscious way of life.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
A distinction in my B-Tech degree!
What’s your watch-word?
Sustainable-design.

 

Credit : Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

Location : Hyde Park, Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa

 

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