THE South African Fashion Week (SAFW) held its first runaway in August,1997.
21 years later, the show prides itself as not only the oldest and most vibrant fashion showcase in South Africa, but as one of the most effective ways to help local fashion designers build solid and sustainable design businesses.
To mark this momentous occasion, this year’s showcase will open its doors tomorrow night at the Protea Court of Sandton City in Johannesburg with a retrospective exhibition of designer garments tracing back to its 1997 inaugural event, as well as the publication of a limited-edition book capturing the formation and evolution of the SAFW, along with the many faces of fashion over the past years. 53 top South African fashion brands will be showcasing their Autumn/Winter collections over a period of five days – October 23 to 27.
As part of its commitment to building sustainable businesses within the fashion sector, this year the SAFW has partnered with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) to showcase 10 BRICS fashion designers and host the first of its kind BRICS Fashion Business Forum.“This important event addresses the DAC’s intention to build business-to-business collaborations amongst BRICS fashion designers as a means to access various markets across the fashion industry and build sustainable business relationships,” reads a statement from the organisers.
This year sees South Africa hosting the Chairship of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa Forum. Geared towards helping fulfill President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pledge of $100 billion in foreign investment, it is also a pioneering event, as 2018 marks a decade of BRICS cooperation at the highest diplomatic level. This year’s edition of the SAFW is, moreover, groundbreaking in that it comes as South Africa commemorates the centenary of two of our great struggle stalwarts, the late Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.In line with its theme for the 10th summit: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, the SAFW and fashion designers from each of the BRICS countries will come together to showcase their various collections and engage in important dialogues.
Remaining true to its mandate to deepen, broaden and intensify relationships between the participating countries, a handful of fashion professionals from the five member countries will get together to discuss viable fashion trends and developments during the BRICS Fashion Business Forum to be held from 9am at the Lesedi Cultural Village in Hartbeespoort Dam on Friday, October 26. Participating BRICS fashion designers from Brazil (Helen Rodel & Heloisa), Russia (Sergey Sysoev & Irina Stetsco ), India (Karishma Khan & Ujjawal Dubey) and China (Xiong Ying & Zeng Fengfei) will join fellow Brics members, South African designers Palesa Mokubung, of Mantsho and Clive Rundle as they showcase their collections at the SAFW on October 24 and 25.