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Merchants on Long adds Tongoro and Wanda Lephoto to a curated line-up of bespoke African fashion designers

Merchants on Long adds Tongoro and Wanda Lephoto to a curated line-up of bespoke African fashion designers.The addition of these two brands is part of the Merchants on Long mission to support and celebrate African fashion. While the two designers have remarkably different styles, both designers are set on challenging the categorisation of African design.

Listed as Fast Company’s 50 most innovative companies in 2020, Tongoro’s success in recent years has given the brand international acclaim, with bold, printed playsuits quickly becoming the label’s trademark style.

A most recent success is the custom black and white bodysuit Beyonce wore during her Renaissance tour this year. Additionally, Tongoro has dressed further celebrities including Naomi Campbell and Alicia Keys, among others. All of the clothes are made in Dakar, Senegal, with the aim of supporting local artisans and tailors. Founder, Sarah Diouf, aspires for Tongoro to break the stereotypes of African fashion and make the label “made in Africa” synonymous with fine craftsmanship and high quality garments.

Of the new positioning with Merchants on Long, Diouf says: “We have developed an amazing audience and clientele in South Africa over the years, and it’s a delight to be able to partner with Merchants on Long to present Tongoro in a beautiful physical space.”

The South African menswear designer, Wanda Lephoto also designs to celebrate African culture and craftsmanship. The eponymous label fuses fashion, culture and collaboration in a unique storytelling. Lephoto explores African heritage and techniques as a way of moving away from western, colonial practices. In tackling socio-political issues, Wanda Lephoto pieces artfully balance traditional symbolism with modern fashion subcultures, such as streetwear and workwear. “South Africa can feel very isolating at times especially as a designer,” says Lephoto. “We are slowly, patiently growing a culture, community and industry.

“Merchants On Long has been the cornerstone of that growth, pioneering in a world of beauty and dreams, helping designers like myself reach new goals, creating a community for us to thrive, creating a home for us. I am honoured to be a part of an amazing family of creatives and designers who are shaping South Africa.”

Like many of the other fashion labels stocked at Merchants on Long, Tongoro and Wanda Lephoto’s pieces embody Merchants on Long’s ethos on luxury, with an emphasis on craftsmanship and community. Both Tongoro and Wanda Lephoto are now available at Merchants on Long retail boutiques in the V&A Waterfront and Long Street, Cape Town.

Image Supplied: Instagram Wandalephoto
Image Supplied: Instagram Tongorostudio

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