MANGISHI DOLL (MD): The Afro-Eclectic Print Queen

Made in Zambia, Mangishi Doll (MD) is a contemporary, ready to wear line that embraces bold prints and vibrant styles. Founder and fashion designer, Kapasa Musonda, unique selling point is her ability to effortlessly fuse vibrant and authentic prints and colours in unusual yet congruent ways.

Mangishi Doll
MD Individualist Look D – Siavonga Shirt Dress [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

Born and raised in Zambia, Musonda expresses that she comes from a humble home of four girls and two incredible parents. After High School, she was awarded a scholarship to study Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, California U.S.A. After graduating, she stayed on to work in the US Fashion Industry.


“MD pieces are not specific, each collection is different and can easily morph into the unexpected.”


Kapasa Musonda

It wasn’t until the Summer of 2011 that she decided to move back home and launch her own clothing line. According to Musonda, the brand “is inspired by art, culture and individualism fuses authentic Chitenge prints from different parts of Africa as well as cultural and abstract prints from around the world.”

Mangishi Doll
MD Clothing Akantu 3-Way Duster [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

MD was established in 2012, but it would take two years to release its first collection. Since then, she has produced seasonal collections that has grown her online presence; channelling exports to the U.S.A, Europe, Australia and Africa.  Among her diverse clientele are celebrities such as the ‘Black Panther’ actress Angela Basset and ‘This is Us’ actress Susan Kelechi Watson.

Mangishi Doll
MD Basics Midnight Set [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

Interestingly, mixing prints was never planned. Growing up, Musonda had a great affinity for abstract work. She found herself drawn to expressive colours, shapes and prints. So much so, that she has a desire to one-day create her own prints. Until then, she utilises her innate talent to bring together two or more prints to formulate her own abstract aesthetic.

Mangishi Doll
Moyo Dress [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

Here are key reasons why MD is on our radar:

Options

There are three categories under the MD brand. The first is simply referred to as MD Clothing. This is there ready to wear collection of modern pieces that combines cultural and abstract prints from across the globe. It also works with different chitenge prints from the African continent. Then there is The MD Individualist which features their seasonal pieces. Authentic prints, inspired by culture, art and individualism, are collected over a period of time to fashion a collection that communicates a cohesive story.

Mangishi Doll
Toloshi pants [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

Lastly, there is the MD Basics which is described as the stylist category. That’s because it gives directions and inspiration on how the individual pieces can be worn. It’s also the category you want to go for if you want to take baby steps into the print game. There are block solid colour outfits featured that you can pair with a patterned piece.

Mangishi Doll
MD Individualist Look K – Nandi Mix Blouse [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

MD Makes a Statement

‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’ ~ Dr Seuss

This is not for the wall flower in the room. MD crafts designs that will catch people’s attentions; for all the right reasons. Her designs provide an avenue of self-expression, mixed in with a combination of playfulness and panache. MD clearly comprehends the significance of the statement piece. Notably, they all look extremely comfortable. Which is important as we’ve benched the ‘beauty is pain’ philosophy indefinitely.

Mangishi Doll
MD Clothing Aya T/Dress [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

Versatility

Many of the pieces can be worn in a variety of ways. Take for example the Kiki Green Maze Kimono. The modern mix of two bold prints can be worn as a throw over or belted up for a more fitted look. You could choose to wear it as a dress or over a pair of jeans. A fact reflected in the brand’s name, as Mangishi refers to a piece of wire twisted into an artistic craft in the Nyanja language. “I related my brand to Mangishi because MD pieces are not specific, each collection is different and can easily morph into the unexpected just like the wire form of art,”  she elaborated in an interview with the African Prints In Fashion.

Mangishi Doll
MD Individualist Kiki Green Maze Kimono [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

It has to be mentioned that they provide quite a bit of information to help their customers make a more informed decision. MD will indicate if a garment has lining and pockets, or the lack thereof. They’ll mention the kind of zippers used, the kind of fit and the adjustbality of the garment. You could argue that it should be a given for any online store, but the attention to detail is commendable.

Mangishi Doll
MD Clothing Mariya Duster II [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

Heritage Infused

Not only are the garments made in Zambia, MD adss a touch of heritage into each design. Musonda admits that she only began to truly understand her patrimony recently. And with that new appreciation for it, she wanted to incorporate it into all her MD creations. She does so through different avenues such as the prints she selects or the styling and accessories. It can even be through the names she scribes to a each piece or a collection as a whole. For example, her SS17 collection was dubbed BADWA, which means ‘born’ in the Nyanja language. The idea behind it was that there weren’t any rules to the collection. It’s up to the wearer to mix and style as they saw fit.

Mangishi Doll
MD Individualist Lala Ruffle Pant [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

Mangishi Doll is definitely a brand to watch. The only thing we want to see more than her new collection is Musonda creating prints of her own! Based on her selections so far, we can only anticipate a result that challenge the boundaries of creativity and present a visually-appealing indulgence. Are you a fan of Mangishi Doll? Share with us your thoughts on print and colour mixing, and which daring combination you’d love to try. Until then, do checkout MD’s BADWA, EDENA, ZIKO and MAGANIZO collections as well as their social media handles below

Mangishi Doll
MD Basics Piano Set [Image: Courtesy of Mangishi Doll]

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