Mall of Africa, Magda Crescent,Johannesburg, South Africa, Alexandra, South Africa
SOUTH AFRICAN FASHION WEEK | AUTUMN WINTER '23 COLLECTIONS
SA Fashion Week, as well as the creative fashion industry it represents, has never had to rewrite the rules quite as fundamentally as during 2021.
In response to an all-pervasive digital reality replacing the physical world, designers became innovative and leaner, turning to increased productivity to remain in, and even grow their businesses.
Production cycles were shortened, and collections were fiercely curated to ensure minimum wastage with optimum cash flow. Circular Fashion principles, such as repurposing local fabric with signature printing in the absence of imports, focused on improving quality rather than quantity. Working with fewer, but more upskilled artisans and therefore better paid became the norm. Equally key was the necessity to amplify digital marketing capacity as well as identify synergistic and cost-effective additional income streams.
Collectively SA Fashion Week and the designer community were compelled to deepen their understanding of the unique needs of the various role players in the ecosystem. In addition, they needed to earnestly interrogate the steps required to drive the increasingly important ethos of sustainability within the value chain.
Positive outcomes from this process included a new willingness to forfeit shipping carbon by using locally produced natural fibres as well as to expand their signature with distinctive print creativity. SA Fashion Week too redoubled their efforts to drive this shift by ensuring that all their prestigious competitions are wholly based on sustainable practise criteria.
Equally proud, SA Fashion Week 2021 highlights include: developing closer relationships with the broader fashion week network – by extension with their consumers and media – throughout Africa as well as Europe; unequivocally endorsing diversity and inclusion, particularly of the LGBTQIA+ community, both on the runway and in its own right as a platform for social influence; and tapping into global as well as local collaborative and creative ventures.
Other significant milestones included developing a workable Covid-inspired hybrid platform to show collections that combined the best features of digital and live eventing while strengthening the 'ties that bind' the various industry stakeholders at all levels. This ranged from the marketing bodies of raw material producers such as wool, cotton, mohair to the technical experts such as hair and make-up artists who consistently ensure the world-class, polished presentation that over the years has become the hallmark of SA Fashion Week.