MMUSOMAXWELL is the vibrant brand by duo Maxwell Buko and Mmuso Potsane. The pair joined forces in 2016 and have been regular features at fashion weeks throughout South Africa. Their bold, unconventional use of colour and patterns has awarded them international acclaim, leading to a feature in Vogue Italia.
They will be showcasing their STYLEBYSA by Woolworths collection in Johannesburg at SA Fashion Week on 23 October. The collection is inspired by the women who sell vegetables on the corners of the Johannesburg CBD; particularly in the way they dress, from the use of different textures to layering. There is also the inclusion of trimmings that have become a part of their design “DNA” where references are made to the Xhosa culture.
We chatted to the Mmuso and Maxwell between all the pattern making and sewing to complete the collection, about their design journey, their design aesthetic and what they do to unwind after a collection’s complete.
MC: What made you decide to start a fashion label?
MM:We met through the program ‘The Intern by David Tlale’, having similar interest, views and aesthetic relating to design, we then decided to join forces to strengthen our aesthetic and amplify the voice of our brand.
MC: What’s your first ever fashion memory you can remember?
MMUSO: Apart from being mesmerised by the fashion story line on the bold and the beautiful, I think my first fashion memory would be watching my grandmother knit school jerseys for me.
MC: Describe your design process: Is it one that is organic or are you drawn to something specific that sparks the first sketch?…
MM: It’s different from collection to collection. Sometimes ideas come from draping to sketching and vice versa, but we try to find the inspiration first and agree upon a direction together.
MC: Do you have a favourite piece?
MMUSO: My favourite piece has to the be the wine berry dress with a pleated black and ivory polka dot panel.
MC: People say ‘support local designers’ all the time, but more attention is still given to international retailers. How does this make you feel as a ‘local’ designer?
MM: Disheartened. However we have been trained mentally for decades to think that international brands represent luxury, status, symbol of wealth etc. It would be naive to think that can change over a couple of years.
MC: What is the most integral part of your brand’s aesthetic?
MM: Subtle but intricate pattern making.
MC: What do you do to unwind after successfully releasing a collection?
MAXWELL: A glass of wine – always.
Stay tuned to the @marieclairesa instagram for live updates on the MMUSOMAXWELL collection showcase straight from SAFW on 23 October!