Oyama Gonintebe Autumn/Winter 2024 Lookbook
Oyama Gonintebe Autumn/Winter 2024 Lookbook
Image: Eunice Driver Photography for SAFW

The SA Fashion Week (SAFW) Spring /Summer 2024 (SS24) season is officially under way, marking the event’s 28th year with an impressive 73% of its designers dedicated to sustainable and ethical fashion production.

Held from April 18 to 20 at its partner venue, the Mall of Africa, for four consecutive years, it is supported by several significant brand partnerships including a momentous collaboration with iconic beauty brand L’Oréal Paris.

Staying true to tradition, the three-day event opens with the renowned Mr Price New Talent Search, which has been a launch pad for many successful design careers. The competition continues to champion gender neutrality, inclusivity, and diversity.

“SAFW does not only unearth, nurture, support and market the designers, we also develop makeup artists, hairdressers, and give fashion students the opportunity to experience the marketing side of fashion first-hand,” says director of SAFW Lucilla Booyzen.

Over the years, SAFW has harnessed the power of collaboration to create impact. One such partnership is the Fashion Bridges-I Ponti della Moda initiative between SAFW and the Italian embassy.

Now in its fourth year, the initiative propels local designers to create export-ready, distinctive, and global designs with a sustainable ethos.

Booyzen emphasises the project’s aim of “laying the foundations of strategic, long-term co-operation between Italian and SA fashion industries, with special attention to youth, inclusivity, and sustainability.”

Joburg-based womenswear designer Viviers, the latest Fashion Bridges participant, debuted at SAFW in April 2023 with her collection, Karroo — Land of Thirst, presented alongside Italian designer Federico Cina. The collection was previously shown at Milan Fashion Week.

Viviers’ work with artisans supports the promotion of the SA clothing, textile, and luxury industry while helping to preserve the country’s heritage of craftsmanship. Her ongoing collaboration with Cape Wools SA and Mohair SA encourages the use of natural fibres as sustainable design choices.

Performative installation

She continues this journey of synergy with her SS24 collection, Re-trace, Re-memory, Re-set, Re-culture, an earth-conscious collection that unites our shared origin stories.

The collection was first presented as a performative fashion installation at Milan Fashion Week, and will be shown again this season at SA Fashion Week as part of the Fashion Bridges show, alongside Italian womenswear designer Andreādamo.

Andreādamo will present his SS24 collection at two must-see shows, on April 19 at SAFW and on April 24 in Cape Town.

Another significant milestone for SAFW is the collaboration with L’Oréal Paris, as the beauty brand serves as the official makeup partner for the event. L’Oréal Paris will join forces for a show with local designer Birgit Gibbs of Biji la Maison de Couture to present bold, sophisticated looks that embody confidence and inclusivity.

The show, themed “Walk Your Worth”, celebrates the diversity of women and features more than 30 actresses, influencers, and public figures transforming into “runway stars”.

Mr Price New Talent Search Lookbook Summer/Spring 2023
Mr Price New Talent Search Lookbook Summer/Spring 2023
Image: Eunice Driver Photography for SAFW

Expanding on this Booyzen says: “The beauty of diversity is a core value of the SA Fashion Week. This is reflected in everything from the unique stories that inspire our designers to the distinctive quirkiness of the models that convey their original creativity to the world so eloquently. The commitment to mindful luxury as expressed in the “L’Oréal Paris ‘We’re Worth It’ campaign, is therefore a perfect fit with our own vision for a kinder, more inclusive, global fashion culture.”

In a cross-border regional meeting of fashion minds, designers from Mozambique Fashion Week take the stage on the third day of SAFW. Though SA designers have showcased in Mozambique for more than a decade, it marks the second official iteration of the SAFW/Mozambique Fashion Week collaboration.

Regional collaboration

The partnership aims to introduce Mozambican designers to the SA market and vice versa. Three Maputo-based designers will showcase their distinct flair and creative perspectives at SAFW.

Another significant regional collaboration is the Pan-African, SAFW/HAFW (Hub of Africa Fashion Week) collaboration.

Ephymol Lookbook Autumn/Winter 2024 for The Cruz Collective
Ephymol Lookbook Autumn/Winter 2024 for The Cruz Collective
Image: Eunice Driver Photography for SAFW

Phumzile Zondo, the creative mind behind E-Mania is among several designers on the continent who took part in the SAFW/HAFW collaboration.

“SAFW collaborated with HAFW (based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) in partnership with the British Council on a project to create synergy with other Fashion Weeks across the continent. This included a fashion residency programme in which we worked with an established designer from SA and other African countries on a Virtual Reality Fashion Showcase,” Booyzen said.

The programme brought together designers from SA, Ethiopia, Accra, Swahili, and Lagos Fashion Weeks.

“The selected designers embarked on an immersive journey in Ethiopia, beginning with cotton picking and continuing through the textile creation process.”

This experience led the designers to create three distinct outfits using handwoven textiles, which they showcased on the runway.

E-Mania will feature these pieces in its upcoming collection presented on the final day of SAFW. 

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