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Thursday 29th of September 2022

Nairobi, Kenya

African Fashion Show: The Focus Is Back On Fashion Presentations, The Upcoming Season Will Look Like This.

Two years ago, when everything came to a halt, it still seems like yesterday. We couldn’t even go out and get refreshments or go to activities since we were confined to our homes.

Although it was difficult, we had to do it for the sake of our own and others around us. We never anticipated this day would come so quickly, yet two years later, we are able to leave the house without a mask.

Due to spending so much time inside starting in March 2020, the majority of people were forced to pack away their fashionable attire in favor of something more comfortable.

It’s time to dust off those fashionable outfits and display your innovative sense of fashion now that events are open.

As a result, prepare ready for some of the country’s hottest fashion shows, which will take place between September and October.

Durban Fashion Fair 
The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Center will play host to the 10th annual Durban Fashion Fair from September 21–23 as part of eThekwini Metro. Along with the well-known designers, this year’s exhibition will feature student designers who are a part of its mentorship program showcasing their creations on the runway.

Before showcasing their collections to a larger audience of fashion buyers, the media, critics, and the general public at the fashion fair, the student designers are required to critique each other’s work as part of their weekly assignments under the guidance of Fezile Mdletshe, managing director and founder of the Fezile Fashion Skills Academy.

Mxolisi Kaunda, the mayor councilor of Ethekwini, is pleased with the program’s continued growth.

Our goal was to identify new talent and offer the required mentoring to promote self-employment by honing designers’ abilities so they might in turn produce jobs for others.

Free State Fashion Week
After an absence of two years, the Free State Fashion Week is returned. This year, the fashion spectacular will be held at the Naval Hill Planetarium in Bloemfontein thanks to a partnership with All Black Soiree, a high-end lifestyle event founded in 2021.

“As All Black Soiree, we are thrilled and honored that Candy Smith has given us the chance to collaborate with such an incredible company as Free State Fashion Week. one that breaks down historical entrance barriers in an effort to economically, creatively, and socially emancipate young people. According to Rapelang Khati, chief operating officer of All Black Soiree, “We look forward to a long-lasting cooperation that will give rise to various prospects.”

In order to prepare the public for the fashion show, which will take place from September 28 to October 1, the fashion week will organize a Women’s Day Breakfast on August 9.
In order to prepare the public for the fashion show, which will take place from September 28 to October 1, the fashion week will organize a Women’s Day Breakfast on August 9.
According to Candy Smith, CEO of the Free Condition Fashion Week, “The Women’s Day Breakfast will focus on the most important aspect of being a woman and how each and every woman in our midst has weathered the past two difficult years and how they have encountered humanity in its vulnerable state.”

Award-winning TV and radio personality Lerato Kganyago, “Ask A Man” host on Metro FM, “Young Famous & African” star Naked DJ, and world-famous medium and life coach Taz Singh are just a few of the people that are anticipated to attend the event.
Additionally, designers will present collections based on the “Be Human” concept at the fashion show, which was motivated by surviving a global pandemic and moving on after it.

“This year, I want to inspire our fashion business owners to “Be Human,” take a deep breath, and pause for a moment. That is the exact goal of the theme for 2022. Everyone in the world has experienced a great deal in both their personal and professional lives.

We must stop for a moment to breathe, then begin again with renewed vigor. It’s time to recover from the pandemic’s losses and reclaim our rightful positions while still managing to “Be Human.” This year’s designs from various designers will undoubtedly reflect this, according to Smith.

South African Fashion Week

The start of October is typically when South African Fashion Week holds its fashion shows, however, this has not yet been confirmed. The entries for the Scouting Menswear Competition are being processed right now.

The SA Fashion Week Scouting Menswear Competition seeks for the nation’s top up-and-coming menswear designers to showcase them to the media, buyers, and people who helped them break into the retail industry. On July 20, 2022, the competition’s semi-finalists will be revealed.

Content courtesy of IOL & NFH

8 South African Tribes Are Honored In Thebe Magugu’s New Dresses.

Designer Thebe Magugu was exposed to a number of African tribes and traditions as a child growing up in the South African cities of Kimberley and Johannesburg. His design work has always been influenced by the unique beauty of his homeland. Magugu adds, “I’m always focusing on topics that are relatively specific but run the risk of being forgotten.”

Magugu sought to keep this attitude alive in his latest effort by designing a clothing for each of South Africa’s eight major tribes: Zulu, Tswana, Swati, Vhavenda, Pedi, Xhosa, Tsonga, and Sotho. “I wanted to commemorate the primary eight cultures that we have here in South Africa because I value my own so much,” says Magugu, a Tswana tribe member.

“While we’re recognized for our storytelling and handiwork, all of the other countries have their own customs and peculiarities that I wanted to capture in a dress.”

Each tribe was designed in collaboration with South African cartoonist Phathu Nembilwi. “I urged her to paint her own abstract depiction of the eight tribes,” Magugu recalls. The illustrations by Nembilwi were then printed on crepe fabric and sewn into “bohemian-style garments with exposed necklines,” according to Magugu. “It’s a proportion that flatters everyone.” I wanted everyone who saw the outfit to recognize themselves in it.”

Despite the fact that each outfit in the collection is graphic and summery, Magugu wanted each one to have its own distinct personality. For example, the Tswana-inspired outfit displays two individuals drumming on a drum that they made themselves, a tribute to the tribe’s beadwork and craftsmanship history.

Magugu incorporated the Soto tribe’s traditional attire into the outfit. “They wear a really particular triangular hat, and they’re often clad with these incredibly enormous wool blankets surrounding them,” Magugu explains.

Magugu was able to transmit the collection’s message clearly and with care with the support of South African photographer Aart Verrips, writer Vuyolwethu Reoagile, and stylist Chloe Andrea Welgemoed. The models, all of whom are Magugu’s friends and South African creatives, were photographed wearing the gowns and coupled with unique South African things.
The conch shells, baskets, and other items would be found in a normal South African home, according to Magugu.
Reoagile also penned tribe descriptions that will be posted on Magugu’s website.
“I truly wanted it to be some form of education,” Magugu adds. “Vuyolwethu offered a quick review of the cultures, including where they’re found in South Africa and what they’re most known for.”

Magugu learned a lot while putting together the compilation. “I knew a lot about South African culture from friends and family, but seeing each culture in detail gave me an even greater appreciation.”
That, according to the designer, is why he enjoys fashion: he wants to continue to share the beauty of his homeland with others.

That, according to the designer, is why he enjoys fashion: he wants to continue to share the beauty of his homeland with others. “I might want to look at another field if I was only doing clothes for the sake of doing clothes,” he says. “I’m not a particularly outspoken person, but I feel heard when I make garments and engage with fashion’s cerebral side.”

Content courtesy of Vogue Magazine, Thebe Magugu & NFH

The Collections For South African Fashion Week Begin in April.

The 25th Spring/Summer collections of SA Fashion Week (SAFW) are set to debut this month.
Some of the collection’s dynamic developments include environmental sustainability, women’s empowerment, inter-brand collaboration, and proudly local production investment.

Ephraim Molingoana for Ephymol, Amanda Laird Cherry and Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho, and cult Kasi brand, Loxion Kulca, now designed by Olé Ledimo, will unveil their 2022 collections to the media, buyers, selected VIPs, and a limited edition of public tickets.

This is in addition to exciting new stars such as 2021 New Talent winner Artho Eksteen, Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu, and Sipho Mbuto, who both took part in the Fashion Bridges collaboration with Milan Fashion Week last year.

The 24th New Talent Search, hosted by Maps Maponyane, will once again kick off the event with a lineup of six of the most promising young designers to watch. The following are this year’s contenders:

  • Thando Ntuli – Munkus
  • Nichole Smith – Ipikoko
  • Mikhile du Plessis – MeKay Designs
  • Calvin Lunga Cebekhulu – Czene.24
  • Sanelisiwe Gcabashe – Gjenelo Couture
  • Mimangaliso Ndiko – Sixx6

What to anticipate

The Cruz Collective with Sokhulu and Mbuto, as well as another new generation notable, Michael Ludwig Studio, were also highlights of the first day.

Day two begins with The Oppo Collections, which brings together Artho Eksteen, Ezokhetho, the gender-neutral signature, The Bam Collective, and the much-loved Amanda Laird Cherry.

The high-profile trio of Cape Town-based Helon Melon, who wowed audiences in 2021 with her all-white, sustainable collection, fashion-forward Judith Atelier, an ardent supporter of South African mohair and perennial fashion week darling, Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho, follows.

BeachCult’s Joanna Hedley and Belhauzen, both Cape Town-based designer brands committed to clean fashion, will be in attendance.

Similarly, Pretoria-based Isabel de Villiers is a body-positive activist who will unveil her current, size-inclusive collection, while Johannesburg-based Kayla Stamboul of Kayla Stam proudly supports women empowerment with a 100% female-owned supply chain.

On Saturday 30 April, the SAFW Collections Men will shine a light on the excitement that is contemporary menswear design in South Africa, with a power trio consisting of Ntando Ngwenya, who merges conservative and postmodern techniques to create a distinctively new clothing presentation, Thato Mafubedu’s Afrikanswiss denimwear, and the much-loved Loxion Kulca brand currently under Olé Ledimo.

According to SAFW director Lucilla Booyzen, an exciting new collaboration between designers Fabrice Moyo of Franc Elis, menswear brands Floyd Avenue and Ephymol, and KwaZulu-Natal-based and proudly South African shoe manufacturers Eddels, Evox, and Hopewell Footwear marks an exciting grand finale for the Spring/Summer 22 Collection.

The significance of fashion
According to Nerisha Jairaj, executive director of the South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (Saflec), the South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (Saflec) is proud to be making industry history with its inaugural association with SA Fashion Week this year.

“We are thrilled to be flying the ‘Made in South Africa’ banner with the debut of three of our most exciting footwear brands for men on this high profile & prestigious platform so that a wider audience can discover the remarkable capability of fashion South Africa.”

According to Maishe Mambolo, brand manager at Cruz Vodka, fashion reflects a country’s culture. “It’s more than just clothes.” Fashion becomes an expression of your attitude. Fashion professionals value art, design, and culture, as well as a sense of beauty.”

From the 28th to the 30th of April, the SAFW’22 Spring/Summer Collections will be on display at Mall of Africa’s Parkade G5, Entrance 24.

You Can Buy Tickets Here.
Each designer’s information, biographies, and contact information can be found here.

Content courtesy of Biz Community & NFH

SAFW Returns To The Mall of Africa This Season

South African Fashion Week (SAFW) is back at Mall Of Africa this October for the Autumn/Winter 2022 collections.

This season, 29 designers will unveil their collections at the fashion week from October 28-30, followed by the SAFW Trade Show in the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa
Some of the new designers who will be showcasing include the six finalists of the Scouting Menswear Competition. They are Marquin Sampson, Refuse Clothing Brand, Saint Vuyo, Umsweko, Vanklan, and Boyde.

The trade show will exhibit 40 designers of men’s and womenswear as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewelry and millinery from October 31 – November 1.

And then, from December 3-5, designers will showcase their work at the SAFW Pop Up Shop, where fashionistas can purchase exclusive garments and directly interact with the designers.

Lucilla Booyzen, director of SAFW, says participating designers are increasingly adopting the circular fashion system required to transition towards a more sustainable and cleaner fashion order.

“This is evident throughout all the collections, be it the new seasonal ranges by established designers or the entries for our New Talent or Scouting Menswear competitions with feature principles such as waste reduction, low impact materials, longevity, and recyclability as well as a greater emphasis on higher quality and timeless design,” says Booyzen.
SAFW will also host a digital media conference on October 13, and on October 20, they will formally introduce the participating designers to the public.

Content courtesy of IOL 

What Went Down on Day 1 of SA Fashion Week SS21 Digital Collections

Sustainable fashion. Self-expression. Graceful and edgy artistry. Classic and playful elegance. Personal stories. And going back to basics.

This was Day 1 of SA Fashion Week SS21 digital collections which included fresh talent and legendary designers. Words: Kgomotso Moncho-Maripane

The SA Fashion Week tagline, “The business of ethical fashion” encapsulates its ethos precisely. Running with this, sustainable fashion became the underlying theme with which designers in the New Talent Search were tasked to follow when designing. Upcycled and deconstructed fabrics were a running thread all around.

With a collection inspired by “De-gendered geometry”, Michael Ludwig Studio showed how the fluidity of structures, proportions, and colors shape evolving identities.

MC Alpine played with interesting shapes and details, while Sipho Mbuto took an avant-garde approach to deconstruct denim.

Stand-out looks from the competition include Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu’s soft and edgy collection boasting a red, white, and black color palette with images that boldly speak to the beginning and the resilience of life, relevant to what our world is going through.

Her collection was inspired by “how planet earth strives for an ecological balance within the forces of nature.”

The debut of Thulani Vuyo Mlambo’s Saint Vuyo shone with notable layering and tailoring. With a brand ethos taken from his lineage, the collection invoked the spirit of Africa’s women armies like the Dahomey Amazons – the all-female warriors of West Africa. Again, a testament to strength and survival.

However, it was Artho Eksteen’s winning combination of fine art and fashion design that saw him take the 2021 New Talent Search winner title.

His collection takes cues from the Surrealist method of Exquisite Corpse where a collection of images or words is collectively assembled to reveal a completed artwork.

Eksteen played with the juxtaposition of different fabrics and textures; different silhouettes and prints to bring together a body of work that is appealingly ugly-beautiful. The beauty is also in how functional the collection is even if it was to be deconstructed.

Read more on the New Talent Search Competition finalist designers here and watch out for our fashion shoot with New Talent Competition winner Artho Eksteen soon!

The Satiskin Rise & Shine Collections brimmed with playful and classic elegance showcasing designers who are retail ready. Romaria charmed with their signature monochromatic wool prints offering subtle pops of woven color. Even more charming were the wool accessories that ranged from bags to headbands.

The story behind the Ezokhetho collection is about the designer, Mpumelelo Dhlamini, having lost his dad. And so, the bold and joyful colors are in celebration of his father’s life. The designs are inspired by a character that the iconic Thembi Nyandeni played in the comedic drama series, Kwakhala Nyonini called uMfazi Wephepha.

The much-loved character was loud, opinionated, fashion-forward, and money-driven. Dhlamini interprets this with exaggerated shapes, playful proportions, and a sophisticated and desirable finish.

Previous New Talent Search winners, ERRE are consistent in the exquisite nuance they bring out in the fabrics they choose to work with. In the past, they have worked ingeniously with leather and moved past its limitations.

Here they highlight scuba fabric, velvet, and techno mesh with voluminous, dramatic, and powerful silhouettes.

Lara Klawikowski exuded elegant grace with her Inflorescence collection that boasts botanical hues and organic shapes resembling tarot tulips. Big on sustainability, her romantic looks were achieved from rewoven plastics and offcuts. See our recent story on Lara here.

Chiefs of Angels presented a rebellious edge with their punk rock-themed collection.

With Oscar Ncube’s fabric ripping and distressing, he showed a more punky expression than the technical design.

Jacques van der Watt closed off the night with a show that goes back to the very essence of what has made Black Coffee a formidable force in the design world.

The geometric prints and architectural structures were recognizable. It is the collection’s military and laid-back mood that brings it back to now as we fight for survival in this Covid19 pandemic. As poet Lebo Mashile says, “Style is in the survival of my people.”

Content courtesy of ASA Online Magazine & Nairobi fashion hub 

Every Look From Thebe Magugu Fall/winter 2021

The South African Designer Looks Towards The Fantastically-occult For His Latest Short Film And Collection

At the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, fashion has found a way to honor the strong, female ancestors that came before them.

For South African designer Thebe Magugu, it was an easy choice. At the core of his Fall/Winter 2021 collection, African spirituality and female divination are celebrated at full volume. The collection titled “Alchemy” explores the occult, cultural heritage of the South African upbringing, and the modern women changing the landscape.

“This season, I wanted to have a conversation with traditional healers, who have divinely been given powers to answer our most burning questions, and who act as a conduit between various realms, often by using objects of divination,” The LVMH prize-winning young designer writes. “It’s a very particular kind of strength, one that doesn’t show-off and relies heavily on the natural.”

In lieu of a traditional runway for Paris Fashion Week, like many other labels, Thebe Magugu’s instead greenlit a short film to showcase the Fall/Winter 2021 garments. The film, titled BANYOLOYI A BOSIGO (Ultimate Midnite Angels), tells a Romeo and Juliette-esque story of neighboring tribes in the desert. Shot and written by Kristin-Lee Moolman, the film expresses the intersectionality behind modern South African women and how they are not a monolith.

“I want female characters to have their own agency and can be heroes or anti-heroes without having to conform to the cinematic trope of women having to go experience major trauma to be allowed to be the same level of ‘badass’ as their male character counterparts,” Moolman writes.

Magugu’s collections often have a sociopolitical meaning. The South Africa-based designer’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection was an ode to the revolutionaries who fought to end apartheid while his Spring/Summer 2021 collection honed in on Johannesburg’s spies in the latter half of the 20th century.

The collection’s draping, colors, and textures all allude to the magical elements found in his homeland. Sharp tailoring, high hats, and fluttering capes add a mystical perspective to Magugu’s models. On a plain background standing at the center of a rug, the models highlighted in the campaign give the camera an icy stare, as if they are hexing you with their divine powers.

Dressed as warriors, feminine healers, and modern working-women, Magugu incorporates both the spiritual and fun. A hat made of light blue dyed feathers sits atop a model’s head while fringed detailing adds a playful, ’70s touch to the bottom of skirts and dresses. The look isn’t complete without a pillbox hat, a sign of American royalty and elegance in the days of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis.

Every cut, print, and dye is integral to the label’s storytelling. The designer worked with Noentla Khumalo, a stylist, and healer who provided inspiration for Magugu’s occult-chic prints. Fabric makers Larisa Don, Adachi San, and BYBORRE used traditional materials and practices to inject spirituality into the DNA of Magugu’s work. The short garment list, clocking in at just under 20 looks, is another testament to Magugu’s continued efforts involving sustainability.

Check out the gallery above to see every look from Thebe Magugu’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection.

Content courtesy of  CR Fashion Book & Nairobi fashion hub 

Three African Rising Fashion stars offer Standout Spring Looks

Personal heritage defines the collections of Thebe Magugu, Supriya Lele and Chopova Lowena. The two latter designers have just been nominated for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2021

When it comes to articulating ideas of identity, the fashion world has traditionally drawn from external and historical sources to create evocative visions. As well as that may be, a new wave of young, emerging designers are instead looking inwards and expressing their sense of self in ways rarely seen before.

In Johannesburg, designer Thebe Magugu has used his collections to preserve and share South African culture. In London, British designer Supriya Lele mines her Indian heritage to create universally flattering silhouettes, while the rising label Chopova Lowena seeks out Bulgarian deadstock fabrics to create its signature folkloric skirts. Drawing on their individual heritage to champion diversity, these designers widen the fashion lens in ways worth applauding.

Supriya Lele

As distinct as traditional Indian dressing and 1990s minimalism may seem, these opposing forces come together memorably in the hands of the British designer Supriya Lele. Known for her layered silhouettes that flatter all female forms, Lele began exploring her Indian heritage while studying fashion at London’s Royal College of Art (she graduated with a master’s degree in 2016), where she also realised the importance of experimentation in her creative process.

She realised that ‘the only way I can work is in 3D, on the stand, by draping’, she says. The process ‘really set the tone for what I wanted to do going forward’.

Lele was selected to show her graduate collection with the pioneering design incubator Fashion East. Her debut at London Fashion Week in 2017 was staged at Tate Modern, and she continued to show under Fashion East’s stewardship for the next three seasons. In 2019, Lele was sponsored by the British Fashion Council through its NewGen initiative and in 2020, she took home part of the LVMH Prize Fund, which was split equally among eight finalists (also including label Chopova Lowena, see opposite) for the first time.

Industry success aside, Lele’s brand of female-centric inclusivity could not feel more sincere. Her S/S21 collection exuded a panache inspired by how her all-female team dressed immediately after the first round of lockdown restrictions had eased.

Despite the logistical challenges of its creation, the collection encapsulates a youthful sexiness. Minimalist silhouettes are amplified by vibrant shades of azure blue and fuchsia; lingerie-inspired details such as delicate ties gingerly hold up draped tops and dresses; and embellishments such as sequins and lace add finesse. Several bright, Madras-check pieces were cut from fabric sourced from Lele’s grandmother’s favorite sari shop in Jabalpur, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

‘What the pandemic has done is bring people together,’ Lele reflects. ‘Everyone has gone through this together and there’s an openness to the fashion system changing; to people showing in their own way and different methods. I think we all really needed that break in the cycle and rhythm.’

Chopova Lowena

Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena transform overstock and deadstock Bulgarian fabrics into oversized Victorian-style blouses and accordion-pleated skirts festooned with carabineers and large buckles. Their work is a triumphant celebration of heritage, cleverly transposed into a contemporary context.

Chopova, who was born in Bulgaria but grew up in the United States, and Lowena, who hails from Somerset in the UK, share a passion for craft and sustainability. ‘I became very interested in Bulgarian dress when I started my BA at Central Saint Martins in London and met Laura,’ says Chopova. ‘I was collecting and wearing traditional dress, but it wasn’t until we did our MA together that we started using Bulgarian references in our work.’

With an archive that spans wall hangings, needlepoints and aprons, the duo’s approach is highly individualised. ‘For us, it’s about having the right product in mind and the right usage for it,’ says Chopova.

The pair dissociate the fabrics from their origins by juxtaposing them with utilitarian silhouettes and sporty embellishments. For S/S21, they invited artists and craftspeople to contribute, a collaboration that resulted in jeans printed with painterly designs and T-shirts featuring abstract imagery made from cut-up Bulgarian postcards.

Thebe Magugu

Originally from the South African mining town of Kimberley, Thebe Magugu moved to Johannesburg to study fashion at LISOF. The 2019 winner of the LVMH Prize, he continues to fly the flag for African culture and provenance, using his eponymous label to highlight social issues, local standards of production, and the potential for growth.

‘I think African stories have often been told by people who aren’t African, and thus distort accounts for their own agenda,’ says Magugu. ‘The collections are inspired by real people and their stories; stories that are often missed in the history books.’

These include the human rights activists of Black Sash, who inspired Magugu’s S/S19 collection, and spies who worked for and against the apartheid regime, whom he interviewed for his S/S21 offering. The resulting collection brims over with hidden details, including patterns developed from the fingerprints of a former spy, and a print featuring official confessions provided by the South African government.

‘Instead of working abroad, I want to create something for us, by us. I think this sentiment, now more than ever, is shared by many designers working on the continent,’ says Magugu, who launched his online store.

Content courtesy of Wallpaper & Nairobi fashion hub

 

South Africa fashion is going local, and it’s a good thing

Largely due to global supply chain disruptions brought about by Covid-19, more big South African fashion brands are committing to producing fashion at home. What are the implications?

Established local brands, like the iconic Madiba shirt producers Lontana Apparel, have long pioneered locally produced fashion. Dylan Rothschild, Managing Partner at Lontana, says, “We’ve always been a proudly South African manufacturer, and have committed ourselves to empowering our local community and providing much-needed jobs at home.

“During lockdown we shifted our focus to producing masks to meet Covid-19 needs, and worked with over 20 external CMT manufacturers, providing over 1,000 people with work.”

With large local brands now beginning to follow suit, here’s what South Africans can expect for the future of fashion.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHsco8bL2kS/?utm_source=ig_embed

What can we expect?

For years, South African retailers have relied on fashion imports from Asia, particularly China. But large clothing brands, including Mr Price, The Foschini Group (TFG), Truworths, and Woolworths have recently announced their intentions to manufacture more of their items locally. As Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns have negatively affected the garment manufacturing sector, leading to job losses, factory closures and cancellations of stock, the shift towards local manufacturing has become a necessary step in reviving the local economy.

  • Mr Price currently sources 35% of its total merchandise units locally. The clothing brand has committed to reducing its reliance on Chinese imports, which still account for 48.5% of its orders, and refocusing to manufacturing in African countries. Mr Price has also announced that via membership to the South African Cotton Cluster (SACC), it will procure 1,357 tons of cotton from local producers.
  • TFG Africa, which used to import around 80% of its products from Asia, currently sources 35% of clothing locally and has announced a strategic imperative to reduce reliance on suppliers like China.
  • Truworths also has plans to move towards more locally produced fashion and announced their intention to increase local textile purchases to 50% in the coming years.
  • Woolworths has also committed to sourcing more fashion locally, and currently purchases over 50% from the SADC region.
  • Other well-known local brands are also committing to locally sourced fashion. Pick n Pay clothing will be embarking on collaborations with South African designers and local production, and Pep Clothing plans to expand, offering more jobs to local workers and producing disposable PPE items to aid in Covid-19 efforts.

Benefits

“There are many benefits associated with producing fashion locally. Local fashion promotes community enrichment, feeds into the local ‘eco-system’, and promotes environmental sustainability,” says Dylan.

Local manufacturing allows fashion to retailers to respond quickly when it comes to trends and weather changes. Whereas previously it may have taken months for imported clothing to reach South African shores, locally made items can be manufactured and on shelves within weeks, while they’re most relevant. This shorter lead time could equal greater profit for clothing brands, as they’re better able to deliver what customers want, when they want it.

Local manufacturing also insulates the South African market against global disruptions, such as the pandemic and ongoing trade wars between major exporting countries. This, as well as an increase in jobs in local communities, could provide a much-needed boost to the local economy.

Challenges

“With the benefits of local production come some challenges. We’ve weathered and successfully overcome various difficulties as a proudly South African manufacturer, but it definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted,” says Dylan.

South African manufacturers face many challenges, not least of them the rising cost of electricity and an often-unreliable power source. As a nation, South Africa is are also faced with uncertainty regarding the unstable Rand, as well as an ageing skilled work force. When it comes to fashion, specifically, South Africa struggles to produce certain fabrics locally, still relying on imports, especially for winter garments.

What do these changes mean for brands that have always manufactured locally?

“Cheap imports from abroad have long been flooding our South Africa market. They are often low-quality items, which promote ‘fast fashion’, leading to environmental disasters such as overflowing landfills and the use of environmentally damaging fossil fuels for transport,” explains Dylan.

As well as being detrimental to the environment, these imports have posed as competition to quality local brands, who have had to compete with disposable, low-priced items – especially in South Africa where the clothing market is characterised by a demand for variety.

With brands set to increase local manufacturing, established local brands should see a greater equalisation in pricing and quality. The local, ethical production of clothing, free from exploitation and sweatshops, means pricing should come more into line with established local brands.

A greater interest in local manufacturing and production could also lead to new opportunities for local textile factories and brands, as large brands looking to go local search out established, tested, quality manufacturers to include in their stores.

“We welcome the increase in local clothing manufacturing, and hope to see more communities flourish as a result. Lontana remains committed to producing quality local apparel with South Africans in mind, and we look forward to more manufacturers doing the same,” concludes Dylan.

Content courtesy of Biz Community & Nairobi fashion hub 

SA Fashion Week Goes Digital

In the wake of #CoronaVirus and being confined at home, all prospects of enjoying the glitz and glam that is SA Fashion Week soon became a dream more than a reality.

It is the event on my calendar that I anxiously await, relishing in the fashion from both new-comers and well known designers.  For the last 3 years, I managed to have the perfect Birdseye view of the best in the business, and I was sure that 2020 wouldn’t disappoint.

That was until Covid-19 hit our shores, harder than the new Versace release or a sale at Louis Vuitton (another pipe dream).

All prospects of the event, which will be celebrating it’s 21st year flew out of my social calendar, because you know, social distancing and no gatherings bigger than 100.  And let’s be honest, not even the hottest fashion is worth the risk of this pandemic.

Fashion Week is going ahead, but just a little differently this year.

In the words of Lucille Booyzen, the CEO of Fashion Week: Change, change, change. The thing we embrace and fear with equal measure.

The press release shed light on the recent speech by our President, and with that in mind the team at SAFW made a Plan B for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2020 showcase. And boy is it a plan. A climate-friendly, green-friendly, COVID-19 respectful, digital-only SA Fashion Week.  This will be the first of its kind, and it is both smart and bold.  Everything we expect from SAFW.

She went further to say, that this state of disaster has in fact paved the way for something unique and beautiful to happen. she goes on saying that it was the push they needed, as they have wanted to push change and the agenda.

Refreshing and relevant new stories from the designers will be told and the sponsors and other stakeholders will all be part of the bigger, global audience.

As the 23rd SAFW, this will indeed be the most important one, taking place 22 – 25 April 2020.

And just like that my excitement is restored.  I may not get the chance to dress-up and photo-op, but I can watch it digitally.

Content courtesy of Bloss & Nairobi fashion hub

SA Fashion Week hosts first digital collections

Thursday’s opening night of South African Fashion Week (SA Fashion Week) Twenty Twenty Digital Collections, which was the first virtual showcase, was unique and organised.

Even the way the models strutted their stuff on the ramp, which was set up in the parking lot of Mall of Africa, you could see that they were at ease.

Gert-Johan Coetzee was the first to exhibit his latest work titled “Kraal Couture”, a collection inspired by the farms.

With blue and black being the dominant colours, the collection consists of beaded cowl skirts, smart pants with cow prints, a peplum tulle skirt, and ball gowns, some made of plastic.

Under the Diamond Fibre Collections, Mmuso Maxwell, Judith Atelier and Lukhanyo Mdingi brought nostalgia to the runway.

Maxwell presented their “Imbokodo” collection, a range that seeks to challenge the narrative of a woman’s place in society, especially in the African culture.

Some of our favourite pieces from the collection include the forest green side pleat jacket, the asymmetrical olive wrap jacket and matching pants, wool-side mustard pleat dress and the spiral knitted dress made of kid mohair.

Atelier introduced the brand to the luxurious world of mohair, which plays a big part in this collection.

Titled “ I am because we are”, the range includes appliqué skirts and dresses, with red and blue being the dominant colours and sometimes fused to create purple pieces.

In collaboration with Ginger Maggie, they also presented their SS21 jewellery collection using fine details such as macrame tassels, copper rings, polymer clay and copper rods that have been combined to create a unique new range.

Lukhanyo Mdingi presented a monochrome collection, rich in brown. His statement pieces include a sleeveless bike jacket made of felted kid mohair and pure merino wool blend gilet. Titled “Relic”, the collection is an extension from his previous works.

“The collection is an extension from what we’ve created in the past. The true provenance of what we do is that we’re always looking at the essentials and we’re always looking at our archives and that stems from really trying to execute what good design means to us because that’s what inspired us,” said Mdingi.

The Research Unit followed with their “Transformative” collection. As a brand that usually focuses on handbags, they collaborated with handweavers and the beaders from Kids Positive to push boundaries.

About the collection that had lots of coding, Erin-Lee Peterson, the founder of the brand, said: “We tried to push the boundaries as much as we could. Not just make it look African or beaded, or weaved, but we created shorts out of the handwoven scarf. We took our beadwork and created morse-code out of it. The smiley face on one of the tops was made through thinking about African masks, such as the one that has the six eyes”.

The range also included micro sling bags, travelling bags, as well as beach bags.

Paying homage to the Indian culture, Etka Kalan of Ekta played with colour and geometric shapes to create unique patterns.

On the inspiration behind the collection, she said: “My latest collection is called ‘Who am I’? It’s an exploration of identity and how we see ourselves. If you look at each person, their environments, their family life, their ethnicity, as well as the country where they live in, all plays a specific role in how they see themselves.

“I looked at my life and upbringing, taking being a South African Indian, loving being South African, but also deep-rooted into Indian culture. My collection looks at formlessness, as well as form. I took a sari, which is 5 metres of fabric, once wrapped into the wearer, takes shape and a form. Then taking this complete structured shirt and structured clothes such as a shirt and trousers, which is a complete western concept and fusing the two cultures to create a new collection and a new form.”

Closing the show was Helon Melon with a subtle, collection of white dresses. Titled “All Dressed Down and Everywhere To Go”, she had the lockdown in mind when creating the collection. To add some colour, she defined it with neon stitches and some art inspiration from Mary Sibande.

When asked why she called in “All Dressed Down and Everwhere To Go”, Melon said: “During the lockdown, we all dressed down. And the most exciting thing is that it is a dress downrange, but you can dress it up however you like. There are lots of whites, I’ve done everything in white cotton and added a few accent colours to the range. Lots of dresses, I’ve done a very chick cashmere suit, and I had to put it in because of what we’ve been through. It’s comfortable with South African influences in it, from the house that I saw in the Transkei over 20 years ago to our fabulous SA artists like your Mary Sibande.”

Content courtesy Independent Online, EWN & Nairobi fashion hub 

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