Amanda Cherry studied Clothing Design at Technikon Natal (now Durban University of Technology) and graduated in 1983.
My collections are a sculptural exploration to make what I have in my head tangible. Clothing allows me to incorporate my other great loves – fine art and drama – into a sustainable business. It also resolves the desire I have for greater political engagement by enabling me to use clothes to tell stories about the beauty of SA and its people to promote greater dialogue and reconciliation.
Cherry, who has always been fascinated by Japanese culture fused with a Zulu influence, first showed at South African Fashion Week in 1999. Extremely respectful of cultural appropriation, she is deeply influenced by South Africa’s multicultural reality and her own desire to pay homage to its unique layers in a sensitive and contemporary way. In more recent collections, she has explored and translated the imagery, impressions and memories of her own childhood at the foot of Cape Town’s Table Mountain into her distinctive fashion signature.
Prior to establishing her company, Amanda Laird Cherry Apparel, she worked in the studios of two boutique businesses before joining Instinct, a surf and sportswear brand. Instinct was produced in Southern Africa and sold all over the world; with the majority of sales in North America. She was appointed as Design Director and remained at Instinct for nearly 10 years.
Thereafter, she founded the Durban Designer Emporium (DDE) with Colleen Eitzen and Neil Roake in 1996. The trio subsequently opened their iconic lifestyle shop, The Space in 1998.
The Durban Designer Collection (DDC) was the longest-running fashion showcase in South Africa prior to the establishment of South African Fashion Week (SAFW). Cherry participated in the annual DDC shows on numerous occasions, where she showed her seasonal ranges at SAFW and South African Menswear Week. She has also exhibited work at the London Fashion Week Expo and has presented on multiple occasions at the prestigious Design Indaba Conference and Expo in Cape Town.
Amanda Laird Cherry’s designs are featured in the exhibition 21 YEARS: Making Histories with South African Fashion Week (2018 – 2019).