In the spotlight: SA fashion industry

Carina Kloppers

Over the last two decades South Africa has been performing exceptionally well in the international fashion scene. Many young designers have illuminated the market with their fusion of African aesthetics with a contemporary flare as they offer buyers a refreshing take on both casual wear and couture. So far, 2018 has definitely not disappointed with singer and television presenter Nandi Madida’s effortless break into the fashion industry.

On 10 February local celebrity Madida debuted her fashion label, Colour, at New York Fashion Week. Madida collaborated with designers Philani Lindokuhle, Kentse Masilo and Josh Patron for her Autumn/Winter 2018 collection which is set to launch worldwide on 20 March 2018.

Models of every shape and size graced the runway, as Madida wants Colour to represent all women. Furthermore, the brand is also aimed at displaying the power, intelligence and beauty found in African women. So, on Saturday the runway was set ablaze with a fiery celebration of femininity as the models were transformed into warrior queens. Models donned bright wigs, traditional Zulu accessories and bold make-up along with a stunning assortment of gowns, jumpsuits and tailored suits. Although red with a touch of gold was the colour of choice for the collection, the evening wear introduced a subtler selection of crisp whites and muted blacks with bright beadwork on the necklines.

The show was widely received with a standing ovation when Madida and Patron took to the runway.

Another prominent figure in the international fashion scene is of course the reigning Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. Since her crowning, in that utterly gorgeous Anel Botha creation back in November 2017, she has been showing off her signature smile at major global events while rubbing elbows with the fashion elite. Earlier this year she brought the crown home to attend The Sun Met in a gown by Gert-Johan Coetzee. She also attended the Golden Globes as the guest of Margaret Gardiner, the first Miss Universe to be crowned from South Africa in 1978, who is now a fashion editor for Most recently she also represented South Africa at New York Fashion Week as she walked the runway for Sherri Hill.

There are many other designers worth mentioning but Perdeby has managed to single out the bright flames. There is Jacques LaGrange’s couture designs that were showcased at 2017’s New York Fashion week. The award-winning David Thale is now a household name in South Africa, since he was the first African designer to showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York in 2012. Since then he has shown at a further five seasons in New York. Another force to be reckoned with is Thula Sindi. He launched his self-named brand in 2005 and has since shown at fashion weeks around the world, including Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Washington and New York. Sindi was 2012’s South African Fashion Designer of the Year. Celeste Arendse launched her Cape Town-based label Selfi in 2009. The label is inspired by architecture and natural patterns, and is sold today at various stores both locally and internationally.

Lastly, Kgotso Letwaba and Mieke Vermeulen are Pretoria-based fashion designers to take note of. They will further establish their brand at future Design Indabas and South Africa Fashion Weeks. But most importantly, they will for sure keep the torch of the South African fashion industry proudly lit.


Image: Sally Hartzenberg

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