BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ


Brands That Matter recognizes companies that build a connection with their audiences by being culturally relevant, making an impact, and communicating their mission and values clearly.

This year’s 165 honorees—the largest group in the list’s three years of recognizing companies—include 68 General Excellence winners and 97 companies recognized across 30 categories. Their work demonstrates brands at their best.

FastCompany’s 2023 ‘Brands That Matter’ list showcases more than 100 companies staying relevant by redefining how business meets culture.


When the “Coming To America 2” costume designer,Ruth Carter, was considering a costume that would be suitable for an African woman she chose a MaXhosa garment. Later on Nomzamo Mbatha wore a MaXhosa dress during her performance on “Coming To America 2”. For the first time, an African outfit featured in a Hollywood film and thereby softly promoting an African design. This moment was important for African culture. It is rare to find anything on a global stage that embraces an African identity. When the MaXhosa brand designer, Laduma Ngxokolo, created the fashion brand he created a cultural icon. It’s impact is more just fashion. It has allowed a community that was invisible on a global stage to be seen. Now the global community knows about the Xhosa and other forms of African design language through the MaXhosa brand.

This is exactly what Laduma Ngxokolo wanted to achieve when he started the business in 2012. He wanted to change the perception of what it means to be Made in Africa, which Maxhosa fully is. Today the likes of Eddie Murhoy, Dwyane Wade, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, and Beyoncé have been seen wearing a MaXhosa brand item.

MAXHOSA AFRICA is a South African knitwear brand founded in 2012 by Laduma Ngxokolo. This was with desire to explore knitwear design solutions that would be suitable for amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). His initial vision was to create a modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection that would be suitable for this market. As a person who has undergone the process, Laduma felt that he had to develop premium knitwear that celebrates traditional Xhosa aesthetics.Along his journey into exploring astonishing traditional Xhosa beadwork patterns, symbolism and colours, he discovered that they would be the best source of inspiration for the knitwear, which he then reinterpreted into modern knitwear. MAXHOSA AFRICA designs showcase the beauty, culture, language and aspiration of the Xhosa people. Evolved and amended in a modern way and a current design context it translates into a form that resonates with multiple fashion markets globally.Brand Aspiration, become a leading African luxury, premium and mass heritage fashion & lifestyle brand. His goal is to change the perception of what it means to be Made in Africa.