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Sindiso Khumalo: ‘Clothing is actually a form of armour for women’

Inspired by the Trevor Stuurman shoot with the vivo X50PRO Sindiso Khumalo talks about her story and the impact winning the Green Carpet awards have had on her brand growth and development, plus, what the future holds.

If we talk about Your Story – what does that mean for you?

My story is essentially about women and female empowerment and clothing is actually a form of armour for women. So I definitely think what I do is arming women to be the best they can be for themselves but also trying to empower the women I work with inside my story.

When Trevor talks about the Glass Ceiling – what does that mean for you? To what is he referring? Is there resonance for you?

I think there is always an idea there are certain places young black creatives are not represented and that is definitely very real in the fashion industry. Hence Aurora James calling the 15 Percent Pledge to brands. So there is definitely a glass ceiling and it does resonate with me, because I think with time we will break that ceiling but it takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of collaboration.

Winning the Green Carpet awards – how did it feel?

Winning the GC awards was really quite amazing – for me it is one of the highest awards when it comes to sustainability and it’s something I’m very humbled by. It wouldn’t happen without the artisans we work with and that’s why I dedicated the award to all the amazing people who work tirelessly with handcraft on the business and all the new recruits on the NGO. It is an amazing achievement and I’m very very humbled and grateful.

Do awards like this have real impact for you?

Yes they do for me as a young black African designer in a very white industry it makes a huge impact to see that we can also get recognition within these industries – it’s heard by many people and the impact is also to show the artisans I work with that it’s real and has value and is important and we need to continue making this work.

How was it working with Trevor Stuurman? Have you always wanted to shoot with him?

Trevor and I have known each other for a long time, he is a friend, it was wonderful to have a shoot with him that was so beautifully curated and he has really made some amazing images that especially frame a moment in time. It’s always great shooting with Trevor – he’s super talented.

Trevor is an artist and so I want to speak to his work as an artist. I think the work he does as a black African photographer is part of an amazing heritage of photography that exists on the continent. He is so talented, but more so I look forward to my two children looking him up in library books as I did with Peter Magubane in my teens, searching for someone who looked like me in the creative industry. I look forward to the influence his work will have on the younger generation of African creatives, because that is the real work. And he is doing the work.

What next for Sindiso Khumalo?

Well I’m going to be stocking a major retailer in London next year – which I can’t talk about yet, and I just want to continue to break those ceilings and put the work out to as many places and possible.

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