iFele is a brand of leather sandals inspired by African Zulu craft.
The sandals made an appearance on the runway with Chulaap’s recent FW18 Menswear Collection; one of many collaborations the two designers have worked on.
About iFele: This is a luxury contemporary footwear brand which is hand-crafted for urban nomads. The design philosophy pays homage to traditional Zulu sandals and other uniquely African aesthetics, but is modern enough to fit into any lifestyle anywhere in the world.
On African fashion: Reggi explains that the world’s leading designers have been looking to Africa for inspiration for their collections for decades. “I think the next step is to open up the International markets to original African brands and designers, so we can present our heritage ourselves. The world must buy African fashion from Africans.”
On going global: iFele is available in retail stores in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Slowly, these spaces are opening up and African brands need to step up and step out.
On African development: The brand represents many workers and families who benefit from the manufacture of our goods. iFele is made by rural youth and women in Zululand who also represent their own culture in the products we make.
On collaborating with Chulaap: Chu Suwannaph and Reggi Xaba share a dream of reimagining and shaping the African fashion industry to be more inclusive and uniquely African. Both are unapologetic about being African inspired.
On the Chulaap FW18 Collection: Footwear is an accessory; it completes and enhances the overall look and styling of an outfit. We explored the different directions we could interpret until deciding on the Zebra pattern. “We interpret the African Joker theme as an opulent expression of patterns. The most recognizable naturally occurring pattern in the African world is Zebra stripes. We finished the Zebra hide with our trademark colourful studs and metal eyelet embellishment as inspired by traditional Zulu handcrafting.”