South African Fashion Week (SAFW) and Mall of Africa will be launching its recently concluded three-year partnership by staging South Africa’s first hybrid designer collections showcase this year. In recognition of the COVID-19 requirements for social distancing, the ground-breaking fashion event will combine a three-day streaming programme of 26 digital runway shows from 22 – 24 October.

This will be followed by the SAFW Trade Show in the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa with more than fifty designers of mens – and womenswear as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewellery and millinery from 1 – 3 November and the SAFW Pop Up Shop where fashion lovers will be able to interact and buy directly from all the participating designers from 26 – 28 November, also in the mall’s Crystal Court.

“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” – 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.

‘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’.  

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”. – Michael Clampett, Head of Asset and Property Management-Retail of Attacq Limited.

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 says.

“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” – Katleho Mahloane: Executive Head of Division: Segment Marketing

“The Diamond Fibre Collections is a designer-led initiative – funded by the South Africa Mohair Cluster (SAMC), through the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the DTIC), to drive increased local mohair conversion through value chain and market development. South Africa is the leading global producer of mohair, and it’s important that we stimulate local value addition where ever possible, to support economic growth and job creation. We’ve partnered with some of South Africa’s finest design talent through SA Fashion Week, and believe that our collaboration with SAFW serves as a powerful platform to launch the collections to the local and global market. The Diamond Fibre Collections is represented by designers Lukhanyo Mdingi, Judith Atelier & MmusoMaxwell and we are incredibly excited to see their collections launch in October”. – Martrin Viljoen

“The South African wool Industry is a proud supplier of sustainably produced wool, cared for by the passionate farmers and meticulously classed according to Industry standards.” – Deon Saayman – General manager of Cape Wools SA

We value the dedication of the designers, who use the inherent natural qualities of wool to create beautifully designed garments and the association with SA fashion week to create this valuable platform’. The SAFW Digital Collections will run from 22nd October – 24th October.

Tickets for the broadcast are available from Computicket and will be on sale from the 24th September.