With its flagship store opening in Maboneng Precinct in July, Loin Cloth & Ashes (LCA) founder, Anisa Mpungwe talks style and substance.
(pictured above: Anisa Mpungwe)
“Eclectic, fun and African contemporary” best describes Anisa Mpungwe’s fashion label, Loin Cloth & Ashes. Launched in 2008, LCA is growing thanks to its African-infused creations for women.
Do you have a key piece that features in every collection?
Yes, the babydoll dress, in plain and print, and the one-seam fold jacket that’s become our signature outwear.
Do you have a favourite texture and colour for spring/summer 2012?
I’m toying with a few ideas, but leaning towards pastels.
How has the label's design direction evolved since inception?
We’re becoming a more refined label. When we launched, everything was a great big experiment. Our clothes make subtle statements. We believe in the African version of elegance in everyday wear. Currently, our customers love prints. Next season we’re looking at something more playful. No matter the direction, our clothes will always be of the best quality, fit, and detail.
Why the need for a flagship store in downtown Joburg?
To me, town is charming and always worth a visit, and I want to remind people of that. The banking mall is down the road from me, and the amount of fabulous suits and heels, higher than what you see on the runway, I see is inspiring. A few months ago Rolling Stone magazine shot its first cover, with Hugh Masekela, two floors above my studio, and I thought: let’s open a store right here. Yes, people shop at malls and centers, but Maboneng Precinct and 70 Juta combine shopping, art and socialising in a cool way. Just a few years ago I was a university student, today I’m dressing the likes of former first lady Zanele Mbeki. We’re constantly evolving. The brand stands for everything girl power, and having Anele Mdoda as its face is perfect. I also felt that it was time to have a formal setting where I can meet our clients. Having a studio has served me well, but I need to challenge myself and push the brand even further.
What can we expect for spring/summer 2012?
I’ve been throwing around this word LCAngels a lot lately and would like to explore it further. In terms of design, I’m thinking of an army of powerful LCA navy inspired pieces.
What are some of your career highs?
There have been several, but winning the Elle New Talent competition, showing at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, and opening my studio have made it special. The greatest accolade is my father’s approval, especially when he introduces me as “my designer daughter, Anisa ”.
What exciting things await LCA in the coming 16 months or so? Any plans to showcase abroad again or get the brand to be stocked in Europe or Asia?
There’s Fashion Week and possibly an extended line for LCA Man. We’d love to stock LCA abroad, but it’s essential that we become a well-oiled machine at home first. And, we’re getting there thanks to Wendy Mabaso, my head seamstress, Winnie Magagula, my head cutter, and Gcobisa Ndzimande, my brilliant personal assistant.
What are the key five items every woman should invest in this summer?
A dress of any silhouette, cute peep toes heels, a fragrance that best compliments your skin (Jasmine is my favourite scent), a Loin Cloth & Ashes Afro-printed collar, embellished with brooches (it goes with everything), and, of course, Ruby Woo red lipstick by Mac – you can’t go wrong there.
(images courtesy of Lauren Mulligan, SDR Photography)