Interview curated by Xolisile Khumalo
An inside look at SIXX6's UNHOLY UNION collection
"...people are happy being as they are so they should. Unholy in this sense is a good thing."
Using the medium of fashion to bring into light conversations often shied away from, Creative Director and Designer of local brand SIXX6 Mangaliso Ashely Ndiko takes on the route of bringing forth the “depiction of every perceived translated to clothing to create a dreamy euphoric hell which is ironically the heaven we all desire, true freedom’ with his latest collection offering “UNHOLY UNION”
While Mangaliso takes careful consideration into the materials and fabric used for his brand as it is a conscious with being an eczema-friendly brand, he used Tye Dyeing techniques to create his desired pastel colour palette, ensuring that the color tones throughout fade into each single piece intentionally depicting a psychedelic trip. The Collection has 3 looks and each piece of the collection is inspired by different factors that are however still in the same breath of communicating what Mangaliso would describe as “UNHOLY UNION”
I first encountered Mangaliso at SA Fashion Week 22’ where he was showcasing his collection that was focused on reducing the amount of consumerism and this was communicated through making his collection include sports adjustable components under the New Talent Search and right after his collection went through the Runaway, I remember loving the collection so much that it sparked an interest in me wanting to engage him about this craft.
It was unfortunate that I did not have the chance to meet Mangaliso after the show, but I am a firm believer in what's meant to be, so what better time than now to have the conversation I have been anticipating with the designer.
The inspiration behind your 3 looks for this collection are complete opposite each other? How are they still all able to fit into “UNHOLY UNION”
The grindr printed jumpsuit is a literal interpretation of Homosexuality, anyone who has used the app will immediately recognize it, whereas heterosexuals won’t notice it, they’ll just think it’s an interesting ghost print, Whereas the purple gathered 3 piece fit is probably a little less literal but still depicting the same spectrum of sexuality and going against the grain of who we are expected/supposed to penetrate. Its just that there’s no need for me to be literal about its construction or print due to the silhouette and the muse being extrovertly presenting the identity they are, not that the first muse isn’t, its just that masculinity has been commonly associated with Cis Het when in reality none of these things define sexual orientation, who, what or anything.
What are some of the careful considerations you took when deciding upon the Tye dyeing technique?
Cold Water dyes work better for pastels and are less harmful to the environment.
Your fashion piece is set with the intention of bringing to light conversations that are often shied away from, what keeps you confident in believing that the intentions behind your work will be well received?
I’m never really concerned about the reception of my clothes, especially from an individual who’s never brought/ is going to buy an item from me because I do know that there is a niche market for me who will understand and get it and buy it. Cause of the downsides to living in a world so verbal right now is that they feel like their OPINIONS are the highway/the only way. We all have different interpretations of what true freedom is and if anyone feels like my definition is off and if someone else has one there probably has a better definition for you to resonate with.
What initially drove you into the direction you took for the ‘UNHOLY UNION” Collection. Was it a specific event? Conversation? Thought? Please take us through it?
I recently did a collection I wasn’t really connected to/proud of because it showcased everything I am not as a brand SIXX6. It was pretty conservation, very safe, very commercial and I hated it, I think I was going through a creative block. Well, it's tricky because it’s more of a love hate relationship, Love being attached to all the opportunities it has brought to me and hate being that it was very conformist of me aesthetically. I guess that’s why it’s no longer displayed on my page. Unholy Union is an adaptation of the same concept similar color palette just evolved and more SIXX6 while still maintaining a few elements of the past range that I learnt during its process.
Why the name “UNHOLY UNION”?
I named this range Unholy Union because this range is a compilation of everything that has been demonized by society and religion. It Struck a chord to me that these entities are things of just being. When did just being perceived wrong? Perceived immoralities, I myself have no right to assume they are good or bad. All I do know is that people are happy being as they are so they should. Unholy in this sense is a good thing.
What were some of the challenges faced during the development and execution of this collection?
Honestly this was the easiest range I’ve ever had to produce because all my patterns were squares, every look except the Grindr jumpsuit and the purple pants were just rectangles of fabric hemmed and gathered in the right places by sewing channels and inserting channels to pull the gathers into place, The concept of ZERO WASTE Pattern making. Lastly everything is adjustable in length and size which makes for a long lasting outfit that has multiple designs to it.
What representation does your brand SIXX6 bring into the fashion industry?
SIXX6 is highly “Unrestricted”, there are certain adjectives associated with “Sophistication”. Majority of our brains automatically paint a picture of a dress beneath the knee and all the little details that go into creating a perfect ‘sophisticated’ look. Our definition/interpretation of sophisticated is everything sophisticated is perceived not to be but we make it work and maintain the same aura. This collection is 100% sophisticated while breaking the rules associated with the term, A lot of the skirts are butt length but neither of them exude anything less than. The aesthetic will develop further with time as our budget grows.
Is the collection going to be showcased on any other platform besides your Instagram and how can people get in touch, get the opportunity to see the collection face to face?
Being that SIXX6 is a foundation phase brand, as the founder I only graduated this week. Our Main priority right now is creating a strong business acumen with a strong business acumen with a strong portfolio and getting people to first get into the story we are selling through online visuals. A friend actually brought good insight to me, they said “Okay the fashion show is over, what next?” that stuck in my head for quite some time, so it just came to my attention that at some point the hype, the showcasing clout dies down at some point. Let’s just say SIXX6 is currently working on some BTS foundation strengthening opportunities, in the meantime we are currently producing a few items from our previous range for Africarise which will probably set to be out just before or during spring/summer this year. We intend on launching this collection with our official online website for individuals to buy and order.