By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
The African Fashion International (AFI) which kicked off at the Cape Town City Hall on Wednesday July 25, is expected to turn the world of African products and designs around.
AFI 2012 is to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from July 25-28.
Organizers have explained that AFI presents African fashion and creative talent in a manner that makes local talent globally relevant and ensures that the world has market access to African product and design.
Through the organisation’s promotion, curation and support, AFI ensures that the international community responds positively and commercially to African-designed products, which are available, unique and on-trend.
And through its Fashion Weeks and initiatives, AFI opens up the continent to commercial projects, both locally and internationally, increasing the geographic spread of Africa’s fashion and the market access to the continent’s apparel.
African Fashion International showcases the best designers from the continent, offering them access to domestic and international market share while also growing a platform for the sustainability of the fashion industry in Africa in creating jobs through fashion and developing new designers in its Fastrack programme.
More recently, an illustrious line-up of South Africa’s leading fashion arbiters were announced to unveil their Spring/Sumer 2012 collections at the inaugural Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town.
With 26 designers showcasing in 18 shows over four days, this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town presents a theme of “icons” and is sure to captivate with designers who present a definitive & creative, South African design aesthetic from timeless elegance to sporty minimalism and stylish simplicity to audacious glamour.
Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Executive Chairperson of AFI says: “Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town, hosted by the City of Cape Town, brought to you by AFI, not only reveal the new summer season trends but present a fashionable mix of emerging and established designers while also welcoming some familiar faces back to fashion week.”
Acclaimed Cape Town designers include Gavin Rajah, Stefania Morland, Kluk CGDT, Habits, Lalesso, Craig Port and Tart. In addition, Black Coal Clothing, Selfi, Strato, August and Non European will be showcasing in a Cape Town Fashion Council slot that fuses the mix of emerging and establishing designers.
Johannesburg’s fashion royalty, meanwhile, are represented by Thula Sindi, Spero Villioti and David Tlale who will showcase a surprise venue.
While Durban’s Dax Martin will unveil an athletic range extension while fellow KZN designer, Leigh Schubert, will present a contemporary collection before jetting off to the 2012 London Olympics to see first-hand her opening ceremony kit designed for the SA team.
“We are very proud of Leigh Schubert, who will take fashion design from South Africa to the global Olympic stage. Not only will our sporting prowess be on show, but our creativity as well!” adds Moloi-Motsepe.
Also hitting the runway are emerging designers Michelle Ludek and Ruff Tung whose ranges have catapulted them into the category of names to watch in the fashion industry.
One of Africa’s premier fashion events, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town also sees the return of familiar fashion luminaries after a hiatus from fashion weeks, including HipHop, Jenny Button’s Philosophy, Rosenworth and the appearance of new designers to the AFI platform including Adriaan Kutters and Ruald Rheeder.
AFI will also host AFI Fastrack Seminars during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town on 27 July at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Providing education and inspiration for the development and success of the fashion industry, the seminars will include presentations by Johan Crouse, Foschini’s head of design, the announcement of fashion market trends by WGSN and an exclusive “icons of fashion” panel discussion with Jenny Le Roux and French designer Fred Sathal.