The Autumn/Winter 23 collections were displayed at the Mall of Africa in Midrand from Thursday through Saturday, October 20–22, as South African Fashion Week (SAFW) returns for its 41st season since its beginning in 1997.
Trans-seasonal designs, which can be worn in both cool and warm weather, have been included as part of fashion week’s adherence to global trends. It supports the gender-neutral and gender-fluid design and champions inclusion and diversity.
The local and international creative partnerships during fashion week have improved.
Inspired by the pyramid-like mounds of the spice displays for the exaggerated woven cut-outs. Also for the vibrant colours mixed with traditional isiShweshwe cloth.
— SA Fashion Week (@safashionweek) October 21, 2022
In addition, it continues to be dedicated to “marketing and supporting our designer entrepreneurs, creatively and commercially, while most importantly, providing the visibility required to access the local, as well as global, fashion industry,” as stated by fashion week founder and director Lucilla Booyzen.
Day 1: Fikile Sokhulu’s Gradual Ascent
Be on the lookout for Fikile Sokhulu’s understated genius. Her clothing has an ethereal, feminine, and timeless aspect that is infused with ecological and thoughtful ideas.
Her x-factor is only confirmed by her inclusion in the recent Standard Bank Gallery exhibition We Are Culture, which was organized by creative visionary Bee Diamondhead and featured 13 young artists.
Sokhulu, a fashion design graduate from the Durban University of Technology, made history as a student by debuting at fashion week and participating in the Cheers Qingdao Fashion Project in China. She and Mr. Price worked together on a collection, and she was a finalist in the SAFW New Talent Search competition.
Sokhulu was additionally one of four South African designers chosen for the Fashion Bridges project, a partnership between South Africa and Italy through a number of organizations, including Milan Fashion Week and the SAFW, that provided young designers from South Africa and Italy with the chance to collaborate on cross-cultural and artistic exchange.
“I’m extremely fascinated by the idea of life and trying to represent it in a way that has an aesthetic femininity, a connection to nature, and an organic approach,” Sokhulu explains. I enjoy observing women in my career wearing both delicate and sturdy clothing. This is also apparent in the fabrics I select because I only use natural materials.
Her most recent collection, which explores holy beauty and has the theme “converting dust into gold,” expands on her adoration for women.
The American-based Amanda Laird Cherry, who has never missed a SAFW season, is another Day 1 standout. Her clothing is renowned for incorporating cultural anthropology, and her designs are deliciously theatrical and sculptural.
Cherry returns to her South African roots this season and draws inspiration from the Victoria Street spice market in Durban.
Rubicon’s Hangwani Nengovhela is also researching her ancestry. Her Autumn/Winter 22 collection, which used muted colors and a restrained design approach, was a memorial to her late father and a time for introspection.
In the Rubicon Autumn Winter 23 collection, she draws inspiration from her Venda ancestry to continue down this route.
Day 2: Munkus is One to Watch
With its New Talent Search competition, the SAFW has established careers and produced fashion stars for 24 years. Successful designers like Jacques van der Watt of Black Coffee, David Tlale, Anissa Mpungwe, and most recently Woolmark prize winner Mmuso Maxwell have all benefited from it.
The SAFW’s continuous and thoughtful responses to industry difficulties can be credited with the competition’s longevity and success. It has achieved this by putting a strong emphasis on commercial success and by assisting the winners and finalists via a number of platforms.
In order to check the sustainability box, Booyzen added the slow fashion criterion to the competition brief around 2017.
Textile craft and print were added to the brief in 2019 in response to South Africa’s faltering textile sector.
This year’s New Talent Search design subject, “Show us your print,” challenged the top contenders to alter public ideas of fabric design and think about eco-friendly fabrics.
The winner for 2022 is Thando Ntuli, with her company Munkus, and Day 2 should feature her. Her design philosophy and successful collection, which featured colorful prints and voluminous, asymmetrical, traditional, and layered constructions, were influenced by the conveniences of the home.
Ntuli began her career working with boutiques that support regional products while she was a student at the North West School of Design and Fedisa Fashion School in Cape Town.
As a junior fashion buyer, she was hired by a corporation and immediately realized that it wasn’t a suitable fit for her creative style.
She invested herself in developing her brand and testing out many platforms in search of chances and growth, living by the maxim “apply for everything and think about it later.” She won the New Talent Search competition this year, her second attempt.
Ntuli’s distinctive design aesthetic stems from the way she scrounged items from her mother’s and grandmother’s wardrobes to develop a multigenerational look with millennial, modern elements.
“To me, being at home means being at your most contented and finest. I’m such a homebody, and I believe that South African culture is rooted in the family.
My mother, my grandmothers, and the way I was raised are the wonderful ladies who have shaped my life and all I am, says Ntuli.
Her Umama Wam collection for Autumn/Winter 23 is a tribute to her mother.
Day 3: Veterans Evolve
The opening performance by Maxhosa Africa on Day 3 on Saturday was a highlight.
The brand returns to the SAFW after a lengthy absence, having just shown the Alkebulan collection in London.
With it, Laduma Ngxokolo has developed an aspirational brand with a flare for luxury and workmanship.
In addition to the Scouting Menswear Competition, keep an eye out for Ephymol by Ephraim Molingoana. The designer’s ongoing experimentation with new textures, prints, and fashion trends.
A pioneer, Molingoana made his debut at the SAFW in 2002 with a collection named Pink Panther that introduced menswear to tailored tailoring and vibrant color. He delivers a collection this time that is gender-neutral.
Wandi Nzimande, a co-founder of Loxion Kulca who passed away, was another pioneer we lost.
Loxion Kulca, which has its roots in Soweto’s street culture, will finish this season of the SAFW now that Ole Ledimo is in charge.
The new collection is expressive and unconventional, according to Ledimo. It presents viewpoints, assertions, narratives, and perspectives on the core of streetwear.
It symbolizes an African-born way of life that was influenced by skateboarding, graffiti, punk, kwaito, reggae, hip-hop, the burgeoning amapiano and club scene, as well as the downtown city center art movement.
Content courtesy of Mail Guardian & NFH