Meet Siyathemba Duma, the creative behind successful local fashion brand, Matte Nolim. The Pietermaritzburg born designer has indeed come a long way since graduating from the Durban University of Technology where he studied fashion.
Since starting his very own brand back in 2014, after he had participated in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Fashion Council’s program, “21 Steps to Retail”, Duma’s career has seen him climb to even greater heights. His designs have been featured in various prestigious local and international magazines, including Vogue, Glamour, Forbes and Cosmopolitan SA. In addition to this, Duma has showcased at major fashion events such as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and South African Fashion Week.
However it hasn’t always been easy to get to where he is today. In starting off his brand, the young designer had to manoeuvre through many obstacles. With unemployment on the rise in South Africa and Covid-19 causing major disruptions, Duma was faced with tough decisions including having to revise pricing points, sourcing and manufacturing processes. With his target market mainly rooted in the youth population, Duma commented in saying:
“Young people are used to buying at a Zara or H&M price point – when you produce locally things become a bit more expensive. There are things I can retail at a lower price, such as a t-shirt, but I cannot do that across the entire collection.”
In addition to this, the brand also has to keep up with changing consumer behaviors. What was once hot today might not be tomorrow and so to constantly keep things fresh and vibrant, the brand makes sure to collaborate with different brands as much as possible. Just last year, Matte Nolim partnered up with Hyundai which was part of Afropunk Festival 2019. The collaboration saw Siyathemba Duma create three exciting looks inspired by three custom models of the vehicle manufacturer. So to keep up with what this exciting brand is doing next, make sure to follow them on the Gram @mattenolim