South African Fashion Week Focuses on Job Creation

The event celebrating its 25th anniversary saw 20 designers take part in shows at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. The spring/summer 2023 edition concluded over the weekend, featuring highlights such as Amanda Laird-Cherry, Ntando Ngwenya, Olé Ledimo’s Loxion Kulcha and Artho Steenkamp.

This season opened with the South African Fashion Week (SAFW) New Talent Search, which has supported hundreds of young designers since its inception in 1998, including Mmusomaxwell, who won the competition in 2019 and was awarded the Woolmark Karl Lagerfeld Innovation Award earlier this year. Thando Ntuli’s Munkus brand was named the 2022 New Talent Search winner.

In a bid to expand the platform’s scope and attract further investment, SAFW announced a new collaboration with The South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (SAFLEC). Ongoing support from sponsors and stakeholders such as smartphone maker Oppo has helped the event make good on its commitments to the wider industry through initiatives like The Oppo Collections.

“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.

In SAFW’s 2021 annual report, Booyzen concluded that although “the worldwide standstill brought about by Covid played havoc with small designer enterprises… a positive outcome of the regrettable job reduction in the retail sector over the past year is that the design industry has benefitted from being able to draw on the larger pool of top skills more affordably.”

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