SA Fashion Week has been the ideal platform for designers to start, grow and nurture their businesses for the past 19 years, bringing the fashion design industry together and providing sustainable marketing platforms, taking high-end designs from the design studio and into the retail environment.
The key voices in fashion are back yet again this year from October 24 to 28, and influencers are raving about the quality of the fashion showcase.
Nomzamo Mbatha (actress and model)
“There has been an amazing evolution in fashion in Mzansi, especially with young designers. There is such a beautiful understanding of the international market and international appeal,” Mbatha said, adding that designers such as Rich Mnisi stood out the most for her.
“Rich is targeted by international publications and international PR companies. It’s amazing how he is able to fuse elements we are familiar with. That just gives me goosebumps. I was marvelling at the colours. We always had the potential in Mzansi, but now the window is opening, and the world is watching.”
She said social media should be given the credit it rightfully deserved, indicating that it had shrunken the world.
“Because of it, everybody is catching up with fashion, and I love that Woolworths is involved and taking amazing designers and allowing them to create affordable and accessible clothing for the mass market, so that everyone can feel like they are part of the runway,” Mbatha said.
Explaining her style
“I always go for effortless and fun. I have to enjoy it. Style, fashion and clothing are an extension of who you are. It’s about loose dresses and shirt dresses. Everybody knows that Nomzamo is curvaceous, and I’m saying I can wear a shirt dress, and it doesn’t have to be tight, and I can still rock it.”
DJ Zinhle (DJ and owner of an accessory company)
“Fashion in South Africa is moving in the right direction,” the DJ said.
“We are so authentic to our feel and colours. We are so connected with where we come from. We are definitely presenting global standards, especially because we are giving the world what they will never find anywhere else, and maybe back then our biggest mistake was trying to imitate other cultures and not realising that we have so much diversity here at home.
“Now designers are tapping into their own, and Africa has become a big thing now. I feel like fashion-wise, we are going to explode because what we see at SA fashion week cannot be found anywhere else. Even international designers are starting to tap into what we have,” Zinhle explained.
“People like MaXhosa create distinctively different clothes that say, ‘South Africa’. This shows that the more we dig deeper into ourselves, the more we give people a different and unique offering,” she concluded.
Era By DJ Zinhle
“I’ve never really thought of myself as someone involved in the fashion industry, however, starting my business required a lot of research,” she said, adding that you need to understand the consumer.
“It’s even harder when you are in the celebrity space because you don’t want to sell your name but your product, so the focus is never about who I am.” The talent says it’s tough, but she is learning every day, and events like SA Fashion Week give her hope that one day her accessories will also be showcased on such a respected platform.
Maps Maponyane (television presenter, actor and business entrepreneur)
“The standard of fashion in South Africa has grown. The Woolworths Capsule Collection by South African Designers was fantastic.
“I always like to highlight and isolate; Rich Mnisi is a genius. He is my favourite, but the rest of the designers did a great job too,” Maponyane said, adding he enjoyed the show on October 24.
“I love it when the standard is good. It makes me proud to see how the fashion industry in South Africa has grown and how we are already playing globally.”
“My style is indefinable. I’m multi-inspired by all sort of things. I can dress up from English sentiments, Sophiatowm, and old school, punk rock and underground hip-hop. It just depends on how I feel,” he said.
Thickleeyonce (social media influencer)
“SA Fashion Week is absolutely amazing. I think all the designers, especially Thebe and Rich, have come into their own. You can’t say their designs look like someone else’s. They are quite individualistic and original. For me, these two are at the forefront of South African fashion,” she said.
“My style is simple and comfortable. I rely on basics, and my style is fairly minimalistic,” she elaborated, pointing out that she can literally walk out of the house in pants, a crisp white shirt, clean takkies or heels and throw on a jacket or coat.
“My makeup and accessories dress me well, and I don’t do colour but neutral tones like black, grey, white.”