The vintage soul awakening old-school South African style


Andile Biyana dresses like a memory. Her scene is set in the late 1960s, a time remembered by South Africa for its hardship above all else. Wrapped in flowing, lace-lined dresses, Biyana winds back the clock through her choice of style to capture the triumphs of the human spirit that shone through the injustice of that time. It’s her way of honouring the likes of Miriam Makeba, Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela, who fought for our emancipation.

The past has taught the Johannesburg-based law student about the value of unity, but she realizes too the importance of maintaining independence within her personal battles. Fashion has been her greatest source of empowerment. This philosophy of strong individuals forming part of a unified cause is central to The Khumbula Collective, an ensemble of fashionistas which Biyana co-founded. The group is motivated by a desire to show the world the real Africa by retelling parts of the past through clothing.

Fashion helped Biyana to find strength of her own, and a team through which to harness her power. It gave her a voice that she now expresses by recalling the haute couture of an earlier age. “Your belief in yourself has to be greater than anyone’s disbelief in you,” she says. While each member of The Khumbula Collective holds onto a sense of individuality, together the ripples of their statement reach further.