The knitting of collaborative networks and the shaping of a sustainable fashion future for South Africa – these will be some of the most exhilarating trends to watch at South African Fashion Week (SAFW)’s Spring Summer 23 Collections at the Mall of Africa from 20 – 23 April 2023.
Now in its 26th year, the country’s top fashion design platform, organized with the support of Mall of Africa, Mr. Price, Cruz Vodka, Oppo and Carlton Hair, the South African Fashion Week SS23 will host 11 shows over three days and show 39 collections.
It will also host both a contingent of designers and models from neighbouring Mozambique Fashion Week as well as this year’s participants in the ground-breaking collaborative Italian/South African Fashion Bridges – I Ponti della Moda project. “Regional and intercontinental collaborations such as these, allow all parties to knit networks of beneficial mutual support. They allow us to share skills and insights, open unexplored business opportunities, and ultimately, to extend the sphere of our respective creative visions to beyond our familiar borders,” says director Lucilla Booyzen.
According to Booyzen, the return of fashion chain Mr Price, as the headline sponsor of the New Talent Search, marks another exciting development. Traditionally the opening show of the new season as well as one of the most watched events for its proven track record for early detection of the top emerging creatives, this year’s entrants were again challenged to demonstrate their talent for print development as well as their unreserved commitment to a sustainable fashion future. “The support of a leading fashion mover and shaker such as Mr Price gives immeasurable impetus to the determination of our new generation of designers to clean up fashion’s act with an unequivocal commitment to sustainable and healthy practice.”
“Mr Price has been a long-standing champion for discovering and supporting local designers through our partnership with Elle Rising Star and most recently our Creative Collabs Design competition series. As two industry players driven by our love for fashion, we are so excited to partner with SAFW and provide further opportunities to South Africa’s next generation of designers and a platform to amplify their talent,” says Donovan Baney, Managing Director of Mr Price.
The 2023 Mr Price New Talent Search, will introduce the following designers and their labels:
- Mmathabo Silika: Silika
- Kuhle Phumzile Zondo: E_Mania
- Caileigh Davis: Silver Magpie
- Athenkosi Takuta: Artae
- Lwandle Duma: Lwavant-Garde
- Oyama Gonintebe
- Juanie Van Wyk: Juanie
- Cyla Gonsolves: Cyla Gonsolves
- Sifiso Kunene: Messrsbasswood
The 2022 winner of the search, Thando Ntuli, will close the show with her Isikhathi /Time SS23 Munkus collection.
The value of a designer platform such as SAFW, extends to the industries that are integral to the whole “look and feel” of a given season too, says Booyzen. “The new hairstyle and make-up looks presented on the seasonal collections ramps are equally critical to the serious industry observers.”
The Cruz Collective, sponsored by the handcrafted, premium vodka, which according to Cruz’s Maisha Mamabolo, aligns with the spirit of fashion as culture, craft and attitude, introduces the new collections by inaugural Fashion Bridges participants, Sipho Mabuto and Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu, as well as East Meets-African Elysian-Ego collection by Cape Town-based, Michael Ludwig Studio.
Listed in 2013 by Forbes magazine as one of Africa’s best young entrepreneurs, Thula Sindi, owner of the renowned Africa Rise retail collective for South African designers, returns to SAFW where he debuted his first range in 2005. He will launch his From a selection” – a visitation of the past, elevated, revisited collection – a tribute to the customers who support the Africa Rise designers.
Jacques van der Watt’s exploration of three dimensional clothing as he unveils what he calls “a love letter to the exaggerated silhouettes of his Classic Couture Collections of the past” for iconic brand, Black Coffee SS23 as well as the tailored craftsmanship of SAFW stalwart, Hangwani Nengovhela’s Rubicon brand, and the fashion-forward Essie SS23 collection, will complete the OPPO Collections line-up.
“South Africa is often viewed as the fashion capital of Africa, given its rich cultural multiplicity. In the last two years of OPPO’s partnership with South African Fashion Week, we have seen this come alive from working with some of the country’s top creative talent. The partnership has enabled us to create opportunities for young designers to access affordable resources that enable them to take designs from paper to the runway. This is a partnership we value, as we have successfully been able to fuse talent and opportunity with everything that the OPPO brand and our Reno8 Series represents in authentic aesthetics, style, technology, and design.” Avashnee Moodley, Head of Marketing at OPPO South Africa.
The third edition of Fashion Bridges – I Ponti della Moda, the collaboration between the Italian embassy and its partners Polimoda Firenze, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana, in collaboration with South African Fashion Week, will introduce the new collections of Italian designer, Federico Cina, a finalist in the 2022 LVMH Prize for young fashion designers, and South African, Lezanne Viviers, who debuted her Viviers Studio signature at Milan Fashion Week earlier this year.
All the designers showing collections at South African Fashion Week this season, including Federico Cina, will also meet fashion institutes, trade associations, media and companies to exchange experiences, knowledge and creative styles.
Four signatures – geographically separated but united in their passion for sustainable fashion-making – Cape Town-based Research Unit, Pretoria-based Isabel de Villiers and Bam Collective, and Belhauzen originally from Johannesburg, complete the second day programme.
SAFW’s commitment to the organic development of the local design industry by developing and introducing new creative talents to the market, is evidenced in the line-up of the five menswear signatures comprising respective Scouting Menswear winners Boyde by Samkelo Boyde Xaba, in 2020 and Refuse Clothing in 2022, as well as 2022 finalist Gugu by Gugu and family-based collective, Fuata Moyo.
Helen Gibbs unveils the clean and uncluttered, season-less and earth-friendly Helon Melon 2023 collection in a double bill with creative hub, Artclub and Friends.
In a celebration of local fashion heritage, Vanya Mangaliso joins forces with one of SAFW’s best loved menswear designers, Ephraim Molingoana, to respectively unveil the Sun Goddess and Ephymol 2023 collections.
A first ever collaboration between the Mozambique and South African Fashion Weeks wraps up SS23 with a grand finale showcasing of Mozambican signatures Chibaia, Mabenna and Cuccla, accompanied by four top Mozambican models, Rachel Mbiza, Chantel Tomo, Rússel António and Ivanildo Lourenço.
“The cross-border regional meeting of fashion minds represents a significant opportunity to advance a responsible and sustainable vision in the development process of the fashion industry in both Mozambique and South Africa. It is an initiative that will undoubtedly help create jobs for young people and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in our collective industries,” says Vasco Rocha founder of MFW.
Additionally, promoting cultural and creative industries is a powerful way to boost the local economy and empower communities, Rocha concluded. “Mall of Africa has had the privilege of hosting the South African Fashion Week for the past three years. In this time, we have been delighted by the exceptional calibre of fashion design talent at its seasonal collections.
We know our consumers are increasingly wanting to express a contemporary, yet uniquely African, fashion identity, and therefore draw enormous reassurance from the prospect of adding many more local success stories like Laduma Ngxokolo’s iconic Xhosa-inspired signature, to our tenant mix,” says Leemisa Tsolo, head of Asset and Property Management – Retail of Attacq Limited, the owners of Mall of Africa.