Inspired by her own Africanism, gender, sexuality, and form, Vuyisa Madikiza has certainly made herself known in the fashion industry. The art of applying design, aesthetics, garment construction, and natural beauty to clothes and their accessories, is known as fashion design. It is impacted by culture and many trends, and it has evolved across time and space. Vuyisa is a designer that expresses herself through design and hopes to leave messages through her clothing pieces wherever her work may travel. Being a contestant in T.V series Project Runway South Africa, she sure knows a thing or two about fashion.
1. Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
I get most of my inspiration from my own experiences, from the way I’ve chosen to exist and where I’ve been; my history. I’m inspired by my Africanism, my gender, my sexuality, my form, and simply by my being. I take learning from others that have similar narratives and that in itself becomes inspiration. I don’t take walks in parks and look at lovely flowers and create collections from that, yes nature is beautiful but I have so much more to say and express than what already is.
2. Has another designer ever tried to steal your ideas, and if yes, how did you find out & what your reaction was?
Yes, I saw my work in The Drum Magazine and someone else had taken credit for it. I was angry and disappointed at first because she was a friend and someone I had worked with. But I did get to the conclusion that it doesn’t help to feel any type of way just that if I genuinely believe in my talent, something like this doesn’t mean it’s the end, I was much younger then and I had to tell myself, rather I had to believe in my talent if I am as talented as I believed to be then I shouldn’t be crying over a few items or ideas. I am a fountain of creative ideas and if anything, I pity the one that has to steal ideas to get ahead.
3. What makes you unique in comparison to other designers? (What sets you apart from others?)
Fashion is fashion, I don’t believe that one can out fashion the next person but what does set us apart first and foremost is a skill and how you apply them in garment construction. Another thing is access, the platforms we have to express our craft. I don’t think I’m particularly unique just my expression differs from the next designer and how my expression is received by the viewer is what sets me apart.
4. What words/advice would you share with young people who are planning on pursuing design as a career?
Be true to your narrative and the things that make you, you. Create from your truth.
5. What does the word, ‘design’ mean to you?
In my understanding design is an umbrella term for planning or process that has something to do with creative thinking, it’s a vehicle we use to solve problems.
6. Do you believe that artists have the power to influence, and why would you say so?
Yes, artists have the power to influence I say this because any expression matters even if it’s not on a large scale. When an expression matters to one person it has the power to influence any other decision they may make thereafter.
7. What do you love most about designing and creating?
I love that I get to tell my story in mediums that are a little more than language. I like that I can be misunderstood and a new narrative can be created but I also like that I can be understood and my narrative remains. I love that I don’t have to explain myself and that I don’t have to apologize.
8. If you take a look at your design career, is there a specific moment that stands out from the rest, and why?
There are a few as I’ve had the opportunity to dress so many influential people but more than that for me the specific moments that stand out was when my learning was enhanced from the graduation with my national diploma in fashion design, doing a short course in fabric and clothing manufacturing in China and of course my experience with the reality T.V series Project Runway South Africa Season 1.
9. What is your most favourite design that you’ve created and why?
My favorite garment that I’ve created is a wrap jacket. It stood out for me because it represented my relationship with my pattern-making lecturer, it was something that was not seen before and it marked a pathway to where I wanted to go as a designer but more so it showed off my pattern-making skills and it’s a piece I’ll forever be proud of.
10. Describe your morning routine?
I don’t believe in routine.