JOHANNESBURG — Marketability and sustainability were the two buzzwords during South African Fashion Week, held last weekend at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
In the 14 years since SAFW began, the event’s founder, Lucilla Booyzen, has repeatedly stressed the importance of understanding fashion as a business, and of building a retail platform for South African design. While it may be every designer’s dream to land a Barneys New York or Neiman Marcus account, Booyzen felt that it was imperative to develop the local buying culture first and foremost.
This year, Booyzen’s efforts seem to have paid off. SAFW landed a three-year sponsorship deal with Edgars, one of the country’s top three department stores. The deal includes prime retail space for South African designers at the Edgars flagship in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.
The six permanent designers who make up the SA Fashion Week Designer Capsule Collection include established fashion labels Lunar, Black Coffee, Clive Rundle, Colleen Eitzen, Two and Cloche.
Three more designers will rotate on a monthly basis; the first batch comprises Hermanna Rush, Rubicon and Sies Isabelle. Among the other labels scheduled to take their turn at Edgars are the eco-friendly line Fundudzi, Ephymol, Kottin & Twille, Naked Ape, Christopher Strong and Gert Johan Coetzee.
According to Sandra Rogers, executive manager of trends and design at Edgars, the SA Fashion Week Designer Capsule Collection is a turning point in the history of SA Fashion Week, being the first time a fashion week anywhere in the world has launched a commercial line for its designer base. “It’s about providing a platform for SA fashion, and making it accessible to the general public.”
Booyzen added, “It has always been my belief that you should build in your own country first.”
Explaining the selection process, she said that “the initial group we’ve chosen are those that can deliver. They either have sustainable businesses or their own stores already. They have a track record of reliability, apart from being exciting, creative designers. The rotation of other designers is necessary to bring new energy to the store and to encourage industry growth.”
Sustainability was also big this season as labels such as Fundudzi and the recently launched 46664 showed what they called “clothing with a conscience.” Although Craig Jacobs, Fundudzi’s creative director, pointed out that his own clothing line, founded in 2005, already uses “clothing with a conscience” as its tag line, he was glad of the fact that “other clothing labels are using their brands as a platform for change. It is very much a global movement, I think, and it’s a welcome trend that I hope will stay.”
Fundudzi made extensive use of bamboo viscose and organic cotton, as well as hemp in the collection. The brand 46664, on the other hand, is the clothing label inspired by Nelson Mandela’s legacy of service, and positioned to become South Africa’s first global clothing label. While it’s not clear whether 46664 uses organic or ethically sourced fabric, it does apportion a percentage of proceeds to the 46664 Foundation, which is run by the Nelson Mandela Trust.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews