When chatting to designer entrepreneur Vuyokazi Nghona from Inami Trading one would be excused for thinking that her business is flourishing despite the fact that her principal source of income from the tourist market has been decimated. “Most of my contemporary African clothing designs were previously sold through tourist outlets such as OR Tambo Airport and curio shops in leading centres. Naturally with the crash in of the international tourist market, I had to make alternative plans,” remarked Nghona.
The new activities include branching out into making home furnishings such as table runners and napkins which celebrate different African traditions. “During lockdown, everyone was at home and they focused their attention on home comforts, so it was logical that my loyal customer base would want to decorate their surroundings with beautiful goods. I designed a range which updates traditional African patterns while acknowledging our roots and these new goods have resonated very strongly with my clients,” she said.
“The other range which was popular during the difficult days of lockdown was the doctors’ scrubs which I produced. Instead of being plain colours, I introduced some personality and flair for these dedicated frontline workers and they were a hit.”
As the local market has opened up, Inami Trading has been producing eye-catching garments for kids which celebrate Xhosa, Venda and Sotho traditions. This range was very popular at a pop-up market in Rosebank earlier this year. For Easter, the Inami team produced a colourful range which was extremely well received by existing and new customers alike. “My Facebook page has generated considerable interest and I now have clients as far afield as East London and Cape Town!”
Future plans include capitalising on this national interest and finding retail outlets to stock the range of clothes and home ware. “My designs are now becoming recognised and acknowledged and this is what keeps me motivated,” concluded Nghona.