A staple of the fashion calendar, SA Fashion Week (SAFW) is back to its pre-pandemic days. From big-name sponsors, to opening parties, the glitz and glam of local fashion is finally back in all its glory. The three-day affair, replete with Cruz Vodka cocktails, the who’s-who of the fashion and influencer industries, and even a visit by the Johannesburg mayor, Dr Mpho Phalatse.
This year, to expand the platform’s scope and extend its growth, SAFW teamed up with the SA Leather Export Council and continued with support from cellphone manufacturers Oppo.
“It is this [kind of] investment that has enabled us to unearth, nurture, support, market and sell the designer collections, and which allows a brilliant young designer to become a job-creating contributor to the country’s GDP,” says Lucilla Booyzen, director of SAFW.
These were the top 10 collections of Spring/Summer 2022.
The New Talent Search competition was the first show of SAFW, showcasing youthful, energetic and extravagant print collections of Sixx6, Mekay Designs, Czene.24, Ipikoko and Munkus. Thando Munku Ntuli’s Munkus claimed the well-deserved victory with her gorgeous layering, bold prints and considered material. Munkus’s collection very clearly stood out with its rich narrative, great tailoring and nuanced juxtapositions of print.
2. Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu
Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu focused on ruffles and tuffles in an ageless menage of textures and patterns. Sokhulu uses feminine and organic aesthetics to deliver a contemporary offering that is as classic as it is timeless.
3. Sipho Mbuto
Sipho Mbuto’s line challenged structural forms, using experiment pattern shapes in a contemporary offering that was as sensitive as it was regal. Sipho Mbuto has been a finalist, and winner, of multiple menswear awards over the years. In 2021, he worked with the UKZN as a costume designer for drama and cultural studies.
4. Bam Collective
Jacques Bam’s BAM Collective specialises in taking alternative and over-the-top approaches to fashion. Capitalising on their idea of an SA utopia, the brand pushes boundaries through colour, joy and excitement.
5. Ntando XV
Ntando XV by Ntando Ngwenya offers artisanal clothing, with cutting-edge and unconventional design, shapes and cuts. Conservative and post-modern techniques are merged in an intricate and contemporary manner, creating a new genre of clothing.
6. Loxion Kulca
One of the icons of the post-Apartheid streetwear scene, Loxion Kulca dived right back into its roots of Pantsula culture with a show-stopping performance opening its show. The proudly SA brand has remained true to its origins, yet innovated materials and silhouettes for a contemporary culture; a culture where streetwear has merged with high-fashion and workwear.
Bold, masculine and glamorous menswear has become the signature of Ephraim Molingoane’s Ephymol. Showcasing at SAFW since 2002, the brand has retained its relevancy and showcased a collection perfect for the Met Gala 2022 theme.
8. Amanda-Laird Cherry
A staple of the SA fashion scene, Amanda-Laird Cherry’s focus on aesthetically conscious design delivered a collection of gorgeous hues, nuanced layering and wide-appeal. In 2019, she took home the Fashion Designer of the Year award at the World Fashion Awards in London and clearly she did not let the recognition get to her head, as she continues to elevate and innovate wardrobe staples.
9. Franc Elis
Functionality is balanced with design in Franc Elis. Juxtaposing functional essentials with sophistication makes the brand modern and considered. Influenced by military wear, well-tailored garments are strategic yet balanced by clean-cut aesthetics.
After winning Emerging Talent of the Year at the inaugural Fashion Industry Awards SA, Ezokheto continues to showcase symbol-heavy statement style. Started by Mpumelelo Dhlamini in 2019, Ezokheto celebrates the past that has led us to the present. The brand reflects on, and celebrates, the intricacies of contemporary spaces while referencing the struggle to get here.