SA Fashion Week kicked off with #StyleBySA powered by giant clothing retail store Woolworths and showed collections from South Africa’s brightest and youngest fashion minds like Rich Mnisi, Wanda Lephoto, Sindiso Khumalo and Thebe Magugu. The #StyleBySA showcase was different collections of ready-to-wear commercial pieces which were greatly received by street culture enthusiasts. There was a different play with denims and cool jackets. The collection that stood out for most of us was Thebe Magugu’s “Gender Studies” which represents the masculine versus feminine aesthetics. Thebe Magugu has a unique way of presenting his work, from the Blade Shape Pleated Skirt, Blade Sleeve Coat and the best selection of colours. I love how his work has elements of the old and the new, like how he has re-invented the pleated skirts that were a huge fashion item in the past and have now made a come back. Fashion duo Mmuso Maxwell’s asymmetrical skirts were my favourite, the skirts were bright and I especially loved that they could be worn differently, by wearing them over a short dress or with a nice tight top.
It seems that the underlying colour of the fashion week was red with designers representing their collections with a touch of red; from dresses to men’s jackets. Designers like ERRE, Judith Atelier and BIParel were among the designers who made red my favourite colour during fashion week because their collections were unique yet simple enough for the everyday person, thus fitting in with SA Fashion Week’s commercial collection stance that they have taken. I really love that South African fashion is moving towards making commercial fashion shows so that designers are able to not just only show their creativity ad talent, but they can also be able to sell the garments that they make. SA Fashion Week is truly at the forefront of promoting designers and making sure that designers sell through their regular trade events; including the trade event that they had running simultaneously with fashion week. Designers who were showcasing as well as other amazing designers had stalls and the customers could buy straight from the runway clothing. “My overall SAFW experience was rather an interesting one; it’s interesting to experience a more commercial fashion week with a strong focus on making garments that sell rather than garments that are inspirational innovative fashion”, said Mzukisi Mbane a fashion designer from Cape Town who was part of the SAFW trade event.
It wouldn’t be an African fashion week without prints and amazing patterns and Mantsho by Palesa had the best garments for the modern African woman who is rooted in culture but also enjoys modern fashion; the garments were accompanied by dramatic hats and eye-catching frills. The menswear collections were especially bright and leaning towards gender fluidity with Originally Kasified showing a pastel coloured collection of coats, shorts and multi shaped tops. Layering for menswear is very cool; BIParel’s crisp white collection took layering to another level in slightly oversized clothing.