South African Fashion Week and Mall of Africa are collaborating to hold South Africa’s first hybrid designer collections showcase this year. The fashion event will combine a three-day streaming programme of 26 digital runway shows from October 22 to 24 with the SAFW Trade Show at the Mall of Africa with the participation of more than fifty designers in November.
The SAFW Trade Show with designers of menswear and womenswear as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewellery and millinery will be held from November 1 to 3. There will also be the SAFW Pop Up Shop where fashion lovers will be able to interact and buy directly from all the participating designers from November 26 to 28, also in the mall.
“This hybrid combination of both a digital and live fashion experience allows us to navigate the complexities of trading and doing business effectively whilst simultaneously being highly mindful of the safety aspects associated with the pandemic,” said SAFW director, Lucilla Booyzen. According to Booyzen, the 2020 SAFW collections are trans-seasonal in line with international trends toward collections that incorporate both cool and warm weather elements. They are also increasingly representing a move towards a “slow fashion” ethos of timeless design and sustainable production.
“Whilst the move toward cleaner fashion production in South Africa still faces many challenges, there is a very real commitment from many designers to pursue this very necessary transition to a new fashion order,” Booyzen said.
“The designer community is predominantly SMME’s, they all employ small contingents of artisans such as seamstresses and pattern makers. It has been a superhuman challenge for these businesses to stay afloat and retain jobs in the absence of any trade or cash flows. This opportunity to showcase their collections in preparation for summer is vital,” Booyzen added.
According to Booyzen, sponsorships have become more critical to sustainability than ever before and the partnerships with Mall of Africa, Vodacom Red, Cruz Vodka and Carlton Hair are highly treasured.
“Mall of Africa is the home of South Africa fashion. Part of our long-term strategy is to support African designers and fashion entrepreneurs by providing exposure to a formal retail environment, in a Super Regional mall that assists them with foot fall, marketing and mentorship. Our SAFW partnership plays an important part in providing this mentorship to our local designers and fashion entrepreneurs,” said Michael Clampett, head of Asset and Property Management-Retail of Attacq Limited.
Katleho Mahloane, executive head of Division: Segment Marketing commented: “Vodacom’s flagship Red contract plans have evolved to give much more value and exclusive benefits to those who expect more, much like SAFW which delivers a better show with every year. We are therefore excited to be a partner in what is SA’s first virtual showcase of the finest fashion through the great talent the shows attract. This partnership will also allow us to support the industry through our participation and allow our VIP Red customers a front-row experience at what promises to be an exclusive event, and an African first”
“SAFW is equally committed to this process and is facilitating greater collaboration between designers and downstream value chain through our partnerships with, among others, the SA Mohair cluster and Cape Wools SA as well as weavers and knitters,” Booyzen said.