South African luxury accessories brand OKAPI has collaborated with two of South Africa’s most prominent artists – famed knitwear designer MAXHOSA BY LADUMA and influential South African hip-hop artist RIKY RICK on its first unisex accessories collection. This collaboration brings together fashion and the world of music, combining the refined craftsmanship of OKAPI’s signature designs whilst taking inspiration from RIKY RICK’s fashion-forward and artistic sensibility and the Xhosa inspired aesthetic of MAXHOSA BY LADUMA. The collection features a range of cross body bags, pouches, and belts made out of ostrich leathers in shades of red, green, beige and black, all tanned by highly skilled local artisans in the Western Cape. Exotic skins have been selected for this collection to reflect the brand’s essence of meeting exceptionality and authenticity, with sustainability and little waste. The shared collaboration has developed from the trios’ mutual philosophy of showcasing the best of what Africa has to offer. Speaking on the collaboration Riky Rick says he hopes that by merging fashion and music it will expand the worlds view on South African art and culture. This ethos is shared with OKAPI founder and creator Hanneli Rupert who says ‘the ethos behind OKAPI is showcase beautifully and ethically made products whilst at the same time creating sustainable jobs on the African continent’.
Notes on the Collaborators:
Okapi is the quintessential African luxury brand. It was founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2008 and continues to uphold the highest international standards of quality, design, and finish which its loyal customer base has become accustomed to. All of Okapi’s materials and manufacturing are finished entirely in South Africa. This focus on skills development and employment creates positive change by developing sustainable jobs on the continent. Okapi has exclusively pioneered the use of African game skins including blesbok leather, an exotic skin that reflects the brand’s essence of meeting exceptionality and authenticity, with sustainability and little waste. This unique skin can only be treated and tanned by a select few, highly skilled local artisans in the Western Cape. As a result of the complex manufacturing process undertaken to produce each piece, there can only ever be a limited number of each style made per year, guaranteeing Okapi’s exclusivity. The Okapi signature feature is the springbok horn. The springbok horn is an African talismanic charm which is believed across Africa to bring good luck to those who wear it. Okapi’s expert artisan’s craft each individual horn making each signature piece completely unique. Okapi is strongly guided by the African philosophy of Ubuntu ‘I am because we are’. This means that we strive to incorporate social upliftment into our production practices. The majority of Okapi’s materials including the springbok horn are sourced as bi-product of established farming practices. By incorporating the springbok horns into the products, Okapi is taking what would be waste in order to create sustainable jobs on the African continent.
About Maxhosa by Laduma
Laduma Ngxokolo is one of Africa’s finest knitwear designers and innovator of the Xhosa (one of the South African dominant ethnic groups) inspired knitwear brand MAXHOSA BY LADUMA.
Ngxokolo established the brand in 2011 with a desire to explore knitwear design solutions that would be suitable for the amakrwala (Xhosa initiates) traditional dress. The amakrwala are prescribed by tradition to dress up in new dignified formal clothing for six months after their manhood initiation. As a person who has undergone the ritual, he felt that he needed to develop a premium knitwear range that celebrates traditional Xhosa beadwork aesthetic. Along his journey into exploring astonishing traditional Xhosa beadwork patterns, symbolism, and colors, he discovered that they would be the best source of inspiration for the knitwear, which he then reinterpreted into modern knitwear.
About Riky Rick
Rikhado Makhado is a South African rapper and record producer. Born in KwaMashu, a township north of Durban, Riky found his way to Johannesburg to pursue a career in film but ended up teaching himself how to produce music through a school project and never looked back. After a long period of struggling to be recognized as a musician, Riky finally gained the spotlight by fusing Kwaito and hip-hop music whilst showcasing his love for fashion. His 2014 single Boss Zonke became one of the biggest singles of 2014. Soon after that he released his debut album, Family Values, which went on to win numerous awards including an MTV award and was certified platinum by RISA in 2015. In 2016, he merged fashion and music further with the release of his sapeur-inspired anthem, Sidlukotini. The song went on to become the biggest single of that year and won Best Hit Single in 2017. After voicing his displeasure with the music industry, Riky has channelled his energy to work as a voice and advocate for young people battling to break into the industry by hosting events that aim to educate youth on the music business. He played a key role as a mentor on Vodacom NXT LVL which confirmed his passion for youth development whilst being awarded a silver Loerie Award for his short film titled Exodus. Riky is currently in production for his next album, Black Children, which is slated for a 2019 release. He plans to continue merging music and fashion in order to expand the world’s view on the South African art and culture.