Durban fashion brand, Khanya Designs, set to take on the world, starting off with a launch event in Ballito

Designer Verushka Pather will pay homage to the ancestral roots of Mauritius and South Africa

One of the images that will appear on a new range by fashionista Verushka Pather, which will launch this week. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 14, 2023


Durban businesswoman and Indo-African fashion designer, Verushka Pather, will launch an international collaborative collection on Friday.

Through Khanya Designs, Pather will pay homage to the ancestral roots of Mauritius and South Africa in the range. It will be launched in Ballito.

Pather was born in Malabar in Port Elizabeth. After matriculating in 1994, she took a gap year and worked as a bank teller while saving up to travel to India where she received a fellowship from the Indian government to learn Bharatanatyam, an Indian classical dance form.

Determined to incorporate her South African and Indian heritage through fashion, Pather established Khanya Designs in 2019. Four years later, her Indo-African brand is going global.

Pather said: “Recently with my travels to Mauritius and Reunion Island, which was part of an ancestral heritage programme, we looked at possibilities for Khanya Designs in Mauritius. We had lots of interest. People started purchasing and wearing our brand. We now have a brand ambassador who is based in Mauritius.

Verushka Pather, left, and Sanjhiana Appadoo, right, Khanya Designs’ Mauritian brand ambassador, with Tamryn Iyer, at the back. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/ Independent Newspapers

“We then received a phenomenal opportunity with the Economic Development Board in Mauritius, so we started pursuing that and we are currently at the stage where Khanya Designs will be in Mauritius.

"We are going to manufacture in Mauritius. It is currently easier to export from Mauritius, so we will be able to export to Europe, the UK and America from there.”

She added: “We've done one collection of kaftans that tell a story of ancestral heritage. Our garments will have different ancestral-related pictures printed on them. For example, an important link for me to my Indian heritage is temples. Here in South Africa, we have the 1860 Heritage Centre, so those images, as well imagery from Mauritius and some from Reunion, are how we have captured our ancestral heritage.

“It is one stunning range of beautiful Amman silk kaftans. Even though it's a modern contemporary design, it still incorporates my Indian background and my link to India through my love for temples, arch necklines, Rajastani borders, and, of course, these legendary pictures printed on them. The event is not just a fashion launch, but a testament to the power of storytelling through clothing."

One of the key images captures a Mauritian woman.

“The photograph of the lady was taken by a photographer from Mauritius. We wanted to look at original moments that capture ancestral heritage, so it was not just about creating modern images. We wanted to look at things that are unique to our heritage and culture. We have now purchased the rights to this image."