‘I want them to feel good, to feel represented, to feel important and to feel catered for in a world that is very biased and careless’. – Mxolisi Luke Mkhize
8 colours, each with its own voice about a people.
Yellow whose tint is for sunlight.
Orange whose shades colour the world with healing.
Red for life.
Green who is a mirror of nature.
Turquoise who resembles art.
Indigo who rests as harmony on the colour wheel.
Violet who symbolizes spirit.
Hot pink who is an emblem for sex.
8 colours, 8 reasons to live. A reason to wake up to watch the sunrise and feel her rays on your skin. Something that gives you the will to paint, to rest your body, to lie on the ground, to hold hands in company and alone.
These 8 colours have become a significant part of the LGBTQ+ community. On the Pride flag, these colours tell the history and are a reflection of the diversity and unity of the LGBQ+. In addition, the flag never stops flying. Additionally, it is a symbol of pride for the LGBTQ+.
And since fashion is personal, it is important to see fashion that calls for a sense of Pride. In March 2021, Levi’s launched a line of t-shirts that were a call to respect pronouns and gender identity through the Pride flag. This was personal and affirming to the LGBTQ+. And to see the continuation of such important empowerment in fashion must be liberating. It must be a reminder that you are not invisible, that you are seen and not just seen, but seen for who you are.
We spoke to fashion designer Mxolisi Luke Mkhize of House of Saint Luke about his garments that fly the Pride flag with pride.
For Mkhize, the placement of the colours of the Pride flag offers representation to the LGBTQ+ community. He expresses that flying the flag on garments and portraying the LGBTQ+ in any form of art is a way of speaking. It is a voice that tells the truth about a people and in doing so, authentically represents them. He further states that ‘it is in a way supporting a group of marginalized and people’.
When we look at his garments that are doing an important job of representation, Mkhize wants us to know that his work in fashion is not one of activism. He wants us to understand that when one wears the garments, they are not wearing a call that heeds the world, they are wearing a story. This story is a documentation of his personal experience with the world. In it, there are narrations of socioeconomic and political realities. In addition, there are tales of African culture and people. This is best expressed in his own words: ‘We might not be able to change the world solely on fashion, but we can definitely influence it’.
And so, he looked at the Pride flag and saw it fitting to do this job.
Mkhize expresses: ‘With all the LGBTQI + hate crimes on the rise and murders. I felt I needed something that will show solidarity, support and representation. The (garment) is unisex and doesn’t cater to gays and lesbians only. It is for every, fashion is for everyone’.
Always remember that sometimes what we wear is beyond just what we picked out of our closets. It holds so much about who we are.
View Mxolisi Luke Mkhize’s work here: https://houseofsaintluke.tumblr.com/
Also feel free to view here: https://twitter.com/mxolisiluke?s=21
All images sources from @MxolisiLuke on Twitter.