By; Brooklyn Masuku

Let’s just say; the outstanding skills of a fashion stylist, have to do more with culture, and its representation rather than the selection of clothes.

You can’t say; “Fashion stylist to the stars.” without having Phupho Gumede K in mind.    From gaining his popularity within 2016, to fast forwarding 2021, winning multiple awards. His brand is definitely an Influencial one and we can’t argue about that. 

Born and raised in Durban, South Africa. Phupho Gumede K 22 – A Multitasker, image-maker, personal adviser, editorial-spread creator, clothes curator. Just to name a few titles, is evidence of how power he has positioned himself in the market of fashion. 

If you’ve been apart of his 114K Instagram followers. You’d understand that; Phupho – is a testament of taking up space and is continuously cementing himself within the industry that he knows well.  

To being a wardrobe manager and personal stylist to multiple media personalities around the globe. Then being a fashion consultant for national television shows and having an opportunity to style 21 magazine covers before the age of 21. “isn’t that impressive”?

As the title “New Age Superstars” fitting for him, It’s no mistake that Phupho is in a ambiguous position within his career. Even Kim Kardashian, would be so proud of the Gumede K Brand. 

We caught up with the jack of all trades, for our Dec/Jan cover and Lord; did he have a lot to spill: 

1. OK! Picture yourself, in a room filled with people who aren’t familiar of who you are. ” And you are given 30 seconds to describe, who is Phupho Gumede K.”? Go: 

OMG !!!! does the 30 seconds start now? ( ha-ha ) . Well Phupho Gumede K, is a fashion multidisciplinary artist. I am a fashion stylist, creative director and image curator. Recently added reality star and soon to add Couturier.

2. Within the fashion and style industry, we experience multiple types of era’s. In this era; there’s Phupho who’s evolving. What makes the Phupho brand much more established and different from the various brands in the market? 

My brand is tied to who I am as a person. It’s very personal and I think that is what makes it attractive to people, who find it attractive. I’ve realised that its also very authentic. I’ve come to believe that, when people know-know you, they are able to buy into whatever you are selling.

3. As they would say; Phupho “you could’ve embarked on any other career, but your heart desired a journey within the fashion industry.” What led you into fashion field? 

uhm, you know I could’ve been a cosmetic surgeon, but you know fashion kept calling me. I know this sounds cliché,  but I’ve always loved fashion and what it did to people. How a need item can shift your entire mood. The excitement I saw when my sisters and mom would try to put on an outfit. I knew that, this is what I want to make people feel. “I want to help be a part of creating a dream world for fashion lovers.” 

4. “Let’s take it back” to the moment you got your big break into the industry. Can you describe the moment? 

 ( Aaa ) I remember this, like it like yesterday. It was the 2018 South Africa Music Awards. I curated a look for Ayanda Ncwane, which got best dressed for. It wasn’t my best dressed, but every South African starlet was on that red carpet and every major designer was dressing someone that evening. So for me, to have gotten that nod was such a game-changer.

I started taking myself more seriously, also when I styled my first fashion magazine cover. It was media personality, Dineo Moeketsi Langa, for Essays of Africa magazine. It was like an entry into High Fashion for me and a career game changer. I basically knew then, that I always want to work in the creative side of magazines.

5. “You always get people talking,” especially the year 2O21, when you express yourself as being a full time “Icon ” How did that come about?

 ( Laughs ) OMG I’d say: “that was messy” So I had broken a record of having styled 21 magazine covers before the age of 21. Hence I joked that I am a full time icon. So earlier this year, I got cast on Real Housewives of Durban and that’s how I introduced myself ( Laughs ). I guess I am growing into that title.


6.  Can you educate us, on the Phupho K  “vocabulary” the definition of being a “Style and Creative Director.” Perhaps run us through your day schedule? 

“So as a style and creative director”, I style magazine covers, fashion editorials and ads. Basically an image architect. As a creative director, I am driving the vehicle that brings you the image. It includes collaborating with designers on their red carpet looks. Hair stylists and make up artists. I am the creative behind the whole look from the concept to red carpet.

My days are always HECTIC, I start my day at 12 and end at 3am. Sourcing, doing returns, creating mood boards, picking fabrics, making sketches and still finding time to be in top of my school work. ( Phew )

7. With being, internationally and locally recognised plus respected; your creativity is global. Name ( 5 ) personalities, you’ve had an opportunity to style? 

 ( Uhm ) God has been so good towards me. I’ve been able to work with multiple pretty great names in the industry to date. 

Ayanda Ncwane, “The president of the Africa Gospel Awards Fest.”

Diamond Platinumz, “Global African artist and Tanzanian businessman.”

Annie Idibia, “Nigerian sweetheart, actress and public figure.”

2face Idibia “Nigerian global artist and icon.”

Zari Hassan “Uganda’s darling and public figure.” The list goes on from: Zandi Nhlapo, Linda Mtoba, Blue Mbombo, Mihlali just to name a few.

8. As a multi – award winning South African Creative. Why is it important to stay informed about the trends and updates, plus thinking out of the box in this era ?

( It’s very crucial ) you have to be aware of what is going on in the world. Not just fashion trends, but socially as well. Things are not interpreted the same way around the world, you have to be mindful of that while thinking out of the box. 

9. We all have our top ( 5 ) favourites; 2O21 and in no order. Who’s killing the game, in terms of Fashion and style influence? 

Of course; “Kardashian West is killing it in Balenciaga” I enjoy the Consistent Kim.

I love Toke Makinwa; she is consistent and fighting hard. Ayanda Ncwane; really gave us a SHOW when it comes to style this year.

Zendaya and Law Roach, ( aggg ) a match made in heaven. Cardi B and Kollin Carter also gave us dome moments.

10. The time is now and this is, “The New Age”. 2O21:  From winning international awards, being the fashion & style head of big reality shows, to being a daily stylist to the stars. What does this mean for your brand? 

I am truly grateful you know, because God has been faithful,  especially after I lost my mother this time last year. I really am doing what she always wanted me to do, which is to show the world what I made of. I am so happy to be doing that. 

It truly reflects on the hard work I put in my brand each time and everyday. I’d say; becoming better and better than I was yesterday.

11. We can tell that, you have the spirit of: Kim Kardashian. Who is your inspiration, How do you think you’ve mastered her skills within your craft this year? 

(  Uhm ) Kim Kardashian West, the best to ever do it. Kim works really hard, she is very hands on and for me that is very important. Kim can go through a divorce but never miss a Skims drop dread line.

Her work ethic, I must say; is very inspiring. So every time I think what would my idol do, I just look back to her and look at what she has always done which is do the work.

12. We are reaching towards the duration of the year 2O21. Drawing closer to 2O22. As a global Creative, what’s the biggest highlight for you? 

( Oh damn ) It’s been a roll coaster of a year. The Ups have been really up and so has the downs. “Winning the African Stylist of the Year at the Africa’s Choice Awards”, was a highlight for me. Also styling Africa’s first original Netflix series was not too bad, It’s a close second ha-ha.

13. Can you sprinkle some Phupho Gumede K words of advice. Especially for people who are inspired by your craft and for those trying to break into the industry: 

Do the work, and everything else comes, but doing the work is more  important. Be selective about where you invest your craft. Say; NO to everything that does not contribute to the life you are trying to create for yourself. Forget about the platforms that refuse to see you. Rather focus on the billions who are yet to witness your magic.

14. As we conclude; can you serve us a sneak peek into what Gumede K, brand has to offer the continent, for the year 2022 ?

( Well ) I styled Africa’s first Netflix reality series

and it comes out in 2022. I’m so excited for people to see that. I also am wrapping up shooting a reality show that I am starring in. I cannot wait for everyone to see that. I am looking to brand into other countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania. Also would like to branch into other continents.

When we talk about; the word History, Phupho Gumede K’s brand has a lot of that. His God given talents has made and is making a lot of people’s career blossom.

He is a professional force and his work speaks for him. 2021 has been a year for the books and so is 2022. Remember, his age is just a number but his work is the epitome of success. Need a fashion stylist?! Phupho is definitely a call away. 

Dec Cover star: Phupho Gumede K
Written by Brooklyn Masuku / @brooklynmasuku
Shot by : Yann BK/ @jashughatt
Make up: Dineo Mofokeng / @dineo_mofokeng
Phupho wearing Ntando XV (@ntandoxv) spring/summer2021/22.

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