South African Fashion Week celebrated its 20th anniversary as the pioneer fashion week in the country. It also marked the end of the long twice-yearly fashion week season in South Africa, which began with South African Menswear Week in July and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg in August, not to mention the 4th Bokeh International Fashion Film Festival in Cape Town in September.According to Lucilla Booyzen, founder of SAFW, the event throughout the last two decades “has grown into the optimal platform for designers to start, develop and grow their businesses. It is the key voice of fashion in South Africa recognizing the power our diversity holds in this sector, which is one of the most socially inclusive SA industries.”Since its inception in 1997, SAFW has used the designer competition as a springboard to showcase that individuality and originality in order to identify and nurture new talent as well as to inspire and challenge both emerging and established designers.This cycle of SAFW — which took place over five days at a new venue, the rooftop of the Sandton City Mall in suburban Johannesburg — opened with the Sunglass Hut New Talent Search competition, which challenged designers to create a collection that would strike a balance between commercial and aesthetic appeal. It was won by the design duo Maxwell Boko and MMuso Potsane, whose high-end women’s wear line, MmusoMaxwell, was formed in 2016 and blends African heritage and contemporary culture.Boko and Potsane first met at another competition, the reality TV show "The Intern by David Tlale," who is one of South Africa’s top designers. Their winning collection at SAFW’s New Talent Search featured wearable clothes with an intellectual edge, in neutral colors with unexpected details, including asymmetric curves and layers of geometric prints.MmusoMaxwell, which bested eight other finalists, won a trip to London Fashion Week in February, as well as a one-year representation package from the Johannesburg-based showroom The Fashion Agent.Also presented during SAFW were the winners of the inaugural Cape Wools SA Fashion Week Designer Challenge: Jacques Van der Watt of Black Coffee for women's wear and Ephraim Molingoana of Ephymol for men's wear.The competition was organized in association with strategic partner Cape Wools SA, which challenged designers to showcase, as the company’s chief executive officer Louis De Beer said, “the superb qualities of South African merino wool.” South Africa is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of wool. In September 2017, the country exported over 3.65 million kilograms of wool, with some 2.7 million kilograms shipped to China alone.For Booyzen, the collaboration with Cape Wool SA “has also brought about a new awareness around the devastating effect of fast fashion and the consumers’ responsibility to invest in a wardrobe that resonates with style and not with trends that are coming and going every eight weeks. Designing for the responsible fashion consumer is the order of the day.”Another partner of SAFW, the national department store Woolworths, similarly espoused sustainable fashion and presented a fashion show to spotlight the 11 designers whose capsule collections would be available in select Woolworths stores within a stand-alone StylebySA section. They included some of the most exciting design talents in the country today, such as Sindiso Khumalo, Thebe Magugu, Rich Mnisi, AKJP, Cleo Droomer, Gert-Johan Coetzee, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Maria Mccloy, Selfi, Ifele and Ephymol. Khumalo, Magugu, Mnisi and AKJP were challenged to conceptualize and design a range made from sustainable fibers as part of Woolworths’ Better Cotton Initiative.Woolworths also took the opportunity during this cycle of SAFW to create an immersive installation on-site designed and produced with the people and the planet in mind. It featured BCI cotton sheeting accented with raw BCI cotton slivers, which was earmarked for donation after SAFW to The Clothing Bank to benefit unemployed South African women.Meanwhile, SAFW’s main contender for the title of the fashion week on the continent, the annual Lagos Fashion and Design Week, took place at about the same time as SAFW.The seven-year-old event, organized by Style House Files, with founder and executive director Omoyemi Akerele at the helm, attracts designers from across Africa. The international fashion press, particularly from the U.K., has been a constant presence at LFDW, including this year.Akerele acknowledged that “press coverage consistently helps position the designers who show on the platform for visibility within Nigeria, Africa and the global fashion industry — factor that contributes to them being easily identifiable to buyers when we present the designers to buyers at trade shows across multiple markets.” Such trade shows include WWD MAGIC in Las Vegas, Tranoï in Paris and Pitti Super in Milan.That said, Akerele stressed that “beyond the runway, our core focus has always been on education, providing access to market, showcasing opportunities and discovering new talents.” In fact, Fashion Focus, LFDW’s talent nurturing and discovery arm, this year presented the Fashion Focus Five, consisting of Emmy Kasbit, Morafa, Imad Eduso, Samuel Noon and Mo Agusto. They showed their collections for the first time at LFDW after a year of workshops and mentoring with established designers such as Maki Oh, Lisa Folawiyo and Mai Atafo, who also presented their collections during fashion week.In addition, LFDW launched an incubator platform earlier this year “as a tool for further supporting our emerging designers," Akerele said. She cited Gozel Green, Sisiano, Onalaja, Titi Belo and Deji Eniola.LFDW is also credited with improving local designer retail in Nigeria, Akerele said. “The creativity on the runway has created an increased demand for fashion that’s designed on the continent. In 2011, there was only one store — Temple Muse — that stocked African designers (sparingly). Fast-forward to 2017: multibrand stores include Temple Muse, Alara, Grey Velvet, Zinkata, Luxe 21, Dunes Abuja, Meidei, Zazaii and so many more. [There are designer] stand-alone stores for direct sales to customers. From established names like Tiffany Amber, (who owns multiple stores) Lisa Folawiyo, and many more to younger brands like Iamisigo, Grey and a host of others, designer stand-alone stores are dotted across Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt to make African fashion more accessible distribution wise to Nigerians. Some of the brands also make sure their websites are set up for e-commerce and distribution beyond Lagos.” This is in addition to multibrand online platforms such as Oxosi, Onyechek and Osengwa.During Fashion Week itself, some of the stores held trunk shows right after the collections were presented on the LFDW runway. Alara, for example, hosted Loza Maléombho, Post-Imperial and a few others during the week.
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.