Sindiso Khumalo, a distinguished textile designer based in Cape Town, is a testament to the transformative power of passion and perseverance. Originally an architect, her journey from the University of Cape Town to becoming a fashion designer in London reflects her unwavering determination to encapsulate the essence of the black African experience through the artistry of clothing.

Khumalo's artistic process is as unique as her journey. She intricately designs textiles for her collections using watercolors and collages, infusing her creations with a distinctive handmade touch. At the heart of her eponymous label is a strong commitment to crafting durable textiles, emphasizing quality and longevity.

Her creations have graced prestigious exhibitions globally, including the Royal Festival Hall in London, The Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, and the Zeitz Mocaa Museum in Cape Town. Recognized by renowned publications such as Vogue Italia, Vogue UK, Elle Magazine, and Marie Claire Magazine, Khumalo's work has contributed to the evolving narrative of African identity in the fashion and design realm.

Early Life and Education

Born in Botswana and raised in Durban, South Africa, Sindiso Khumalo's multicultural background plays a pivotal role in shaping her aesthetic. Her educational journey led her to study architecture at the University of Cape Town, followed by a master's degree in future textile design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. She further honed her skills working alongside the distinguished British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye.

In the rich tapestry of Sindiso Khumalo's life and work, the art of dressmaking runs through generations. Her maternal grandmother, a pattern maker and machinist, sowed the seeds of inspiration for Khumalo's journey into fashion.


In 2012, Khumalo founded her eponymous company, marking the beginning of her transformative career in the world of fashion. Her inaugural collection debuted in the Elle Magazine Rising Star competition, catapulting her into the fashion limelight. With a unique blend of African influences and modernist architecture, Khumalo describes her aesthetic as "Afro-Bauhaus-Gone-Pop," capturing the warmth of African heritage juxtaposed with the coolness of modernist design.

Notably, sustainability is a cornerstone of Khumalo's creative ethos. She consciously opts for sustainable materials in her designs, reflecting a commitment to responsible and ethical fashion practices. 

Khumalo's passion for concrete in architecture echoes consistently in her creations. The Bauhaus Movement and the Memphis Movement leave an indelible mark on her designs, yet she equally draws inspiration from the architectural legacy of her hometown, Durban, and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. A self-proclaimed "textile-nerd," Khumalo weaves a unique visual language rooted in her Zulu and Ndebele heritage.

In an interview with Mail & Guardian, Khumalo reflects on the richly colored aesthetic of her collections, a fusion of the two distinct environments she navigates. Her label is a champion of modern sustainable contemporary textiles, all locally printed and manufactured in Cape Town, minimizing the environmental footprint.

Over the years, Khumalo has collaborated with NGOs across South Africa, contributing to the development of sustainable textiles for her womenswear collections. Motherhood, particularly the birth of her son Khaya, has sparked introspection on the legacy she leaves behind. This reflection prompts a meticulous consideration of her garments' lifecycle. Khumalo emphasizes the use of natural fibers and eschews seasonal collections, denouncing the excessive waste prevalent in fast fashion.

Expressing concern over the environmental impact of the fashion industry's rapid pace, Khumalo states, "Fashion has become too fast. So much waste is produced. Someone gets squeezed if there’s that much waste – and it’s usually the small producer, independent boutique, or up-and-coming designer."

Her latest collection embraces hand-printed textiles and employs traditional techniques such as foiling and flocking, signaling a return to basics. Khumalo hints at the expansion of her label, with future offerings exploring textiles in various forms.

As one of the 20 semi-finalists in the prestigious LVMH Prize, Khumalo stands at the intersection of heritage and sustainability, weaving a narrative that resonates far beyond the threads of fabric.

In 2021, Khumalo unveiled her spring-summer collection during the ready-to-wear fashion show in Milan, showcasing her continued evolution in the world of fashion. The release of the fashion film "Jagger" for her Spring Summer 2022 collection brought a visual narrative inspired by the CMYK color palette and artist Githan Coopoo's creative direction.

Currently residing in London, Sindiso Khumalo's artistic journey continues to weave together cultural influences, architectural inspirations, and a commitment to sustainability, creating a tapestry that transcends boundaries and tells a compelling story through the language of textiles.

Private Life

In addition to her prolific career in design and entrepreneurship, Sindiso Khumalo wears another significant hat—that of a parent. Married to architect Edward McCann, Khumalo seamlessly integrates architecture into her creative world, creating a harmonious blend of design disciplines. The couple is blessed with two children, adding a dimension of family life to Khumalo's dynamic journey.

Juggling the demands of a thriving business, collaborative ventures, and parenthood presents its challenges. Khumalo acknowledges the difficulty, stating that it could be very challenging most of the time. Yet, she approaches life with a philosophy centered on balance. For Khumalo, creating equilibrium involves dedicating quality time to her children, relishing those moments, and ensuring a mindful presence at work.

In the intricate tapestry of Sindiso Khumalo's life, the threads of family, design, and entrepreneurship weave together, creating a narrative that reflects resilience, creativity, and the pursuit of balance in every aspect of life.