South African luxury brand MaXhosa is making a comeback at New York Fashion Week. Founder Laduma Ngxokolo and his team are currently in the city to sign a lease for a six-month pop-up store on Canal Street in Soho. The brand, known for its knitwear inspired by the Xhosa initiation ceremony, has gained international recognition and has been worn by celebrities like Beyonce and Alicia Keys.
Maxhosa’s relationship with New York has been steadily over the years. In 2018, the Museum of Modern Art commissioned a sweater by Ngxokolo for an exhibit, and in 2019, Bloomingdales featured his kaftans in a pop-up curated by actress Florence Kasumba. The brand also debuted its Spring- Summer 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week, featuring notable figures like actor Atandwa Kani and Miss Universe Zozi Tunzi.
Ngxokolo sees the New York pop-up as an opportunity to better serve MaXhosa’s international clientele and explore film and TV collaborations. This marks the brand’s first international stand-alone retail presence, and Ngxokolo is already considering future possibilities in Los Angeles and Miami. MaXhosa currently has five retail stores in South Africa, including a duty-free store at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport.
The pop-up is set to open in March or April, depending on finding the right shopfitter. Ngxokolo is optimistic about the venture, as finding a good landlord in New York is considered a significant achievement. Overall, MaXhosa aims to offer rare African luxury and tap into the fast-growing market for African fashion.