Q:How has the SA Fashion Industry matured since the launch of the SA Fashion week in 1997?
Over the past 20 years we have brought the Creative Fashion Design Industry together. We share our collective industry knowledge and provide sustainable marketing platforms taking high-end designs from the design studio into the retail environment.
SA Fashion Week is the only Business to Business platform for fashion, footwear, accessory and jewellery designers to market their Collections. SA Fashion Week showcases the latest seasonal collections of the top designers to the media, buyers and well-heeled clients of the designers. The showcase of women’s design takes place biannually followed by SA Fashion Week Men. The SA Fashion Week Trade Event is a wholesale platform for designers to sell to boutiques and online stores nationwide. It is followed by the biannual SAFW Luxury Designer Pop Up Shop in Sandton and the annual SA Fashion Week Designer Pop Up Shop in Brooklyn Mall, bringing designers and consumers together
Our intention over the next year is to strengthen the network – facilitate and promote collaborations on all levels and integrate designers with local manufacturers and textile manufacturers to foster sustainable partnerships.
Q:With many retailers closing shop, does this mean we as Africans are not style conscious or is it more about brands/products being expensive?
The shopping landscape is changing – people no longer have to rely on the big players, especially the working youth, who often strive to be unique. Shopping in places like markets, thrift stores or in the online space. It’s not about being African but rather being part of the global community and following trends that are subconsciously promoted through social media. Clothing depends on the economy but fashion does not.
Q:What does this mean for a young designer who plans on establishing their own brand and enter the market?
Designers need to be innovative, and understand their market; Who are you designing for? It’s about creating a need, want or desire for the consumer. They need to start trends and not blindly follow.
Q:Do you feel that as Africans, we would rather spend more money on an International brand and expect to pay less on local brands?
Those who can afford to indulge in luxury fashion, seem to rather opt for international brands, because of the status, or values that are attached to it, however a mind shift is starting to take place whereby people are recognising SA design for its own quality and uniqueness, and beginning to understand the importance of supporting local industry therefore economy.
Q:We have so many designers emerging and most of them do not have a formal Education background, would you say a qualification in Fashion Design is still relevant?
Education is a fundamental part of any industry and fashion is not any different, anyone can learn how to make clothing, but one needs to understand the theoretical framework or essence of the discipline, before attempting to innovate and create something new.
Q:Can you tell us more about your programme, ’21 steps to retail’ and what it hopes to achieve by the year 2020?
The 21 steps to retail is an initiative started with Runway Productions with the aim of advancing skills development and training in the fashion design sector. The programme seeks to enhance the skills of young designers, teach them entrepreneurial proficiency and generally increase the number of local designers that can make a living from their design talent – in line with its strategy to increase its locally sourced goods from both local designers and manufacturers.
“The size of the global apparel business is growing and is expected to generate double digit growth between now and 2020, much of it coming from developing markets.” -McKinsey&Company
Q: International Brands collaborating with local personalities has sort of become a norm in SA, 1. Does that principle work in the SA Market where you find brands being sold out over night because they are endorsed by a personality? 2. Will we ever get to a point where a local brand is endorsed by a personality and the range gets sold out in minutes?
We shouldn’t compare our local brands to international brands, as they don’t have the same amount of investment. it’s important to remember that the personalities that are dressed by SA designers can afford it, many of our talented designers have dressed celebrities like Blac Chyna and Kelly Rowland and in turn has created a lot of attraction to our SA brands and designers. Retailers like Woolworths have invested in young designers, aiming to build futures in the SA fashion industry making it desirable and accessible.
Q:Which Brands/Designers are getting it right in the SA/Africa scene
Designers that are passionate about what they do, their passion shines through their work. It’s not about where you come from or making a lot of money, if you have the determination and love then no matter what obstacle you face you find a way to win, then you’re getting it right.
Q:Young emerging designers that we must look out for?
Visit the SA Fashion Week website to explore the designers on the rise. www.safashionweek.co.za SA Fashion Week encourages all designers to involve themselves in our platforms and competitions?
Q:Where do you see the SA/Africa fashion Industry in the next 20 years?
The only way is up! In 20 years all South Africans will be buying SA labels.
Q:Where can we follow you on Social Media?