Another South African Fashion Week season has come to a close, and what a spectacular runway show! From a star-studded launch party to the season’s street style trends and eccentric designer collections, this season was all about boldness and style. The fashion business prides itself on supporting locals through brand partnerships, brand alignment, and young designer competitions. Every year, SA Fashion Week opens its doors to young designers and challenges them to create a unique collection under the supervision of a brief curated by SAFW, and the finalists are selected by judges carefully selected from the fashion industry. The competition is referred to as the “New Talent Search,” and it basically highlights new talent in South Africa.
The Cruz Launch Party
Hosted by Cruz Vodka in alliance with Tutone Communications MEFeater was invited to the SA Fashion Week launch party in Sandton on Wednesday, April 19. The invite-only event was a celebration of the upcoming SS23 SAFW collections and hosted the crème de la crème in the fashion, entertainment, and media industries. In attendance were influencers, media personalities, creators, and fashion designers. The theme for the evening was New York, New York, a homage to the city that never sleeps and the fashion icons that have built such an impactful industry that is fashion today. MEFeater had the opportunity to speak to some influencers on the red carpet, including Kagiso, Mogola, Thando Mfundisi, media personalities, SadileM_, Lasizwe, and other creators, breaking down their outfits and expectations for the season.
DAY 1 – New Talent Search (Winner: Cyla Gonsolves)
Day 1 of SAFW mainly focused on the popular and most anticipated new Talent Search competition, which is the first segment of the first day. In this year’s show, as usual, there were eight semi-finalist contestants, and Cayla Gosolves, a women’s wear designer from Cape Town, won the prize. Her range includes languid day dresses, cozy knits for effortless layering, and contemporary classic blouses.
Rubicon’s Latest Collection Celebrates Femininity
Commemorating twenty-one years as a style and culture institution in South Africa’s fashion landscape, Rubicon’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection marries the Eastern and Western influences with African elegance, while paying homage to the reimagined Myth of Origin story about the lost kingdom of Mapungubwe. It tells a tale of history reimagined and their show brought life to an authentic celebration of heritage. Each of the pieces in this season’s collection intricately depicts how Nengovhela envisions the young bride would have curated her wardrobe. The aesthetic is romantic and flowing with structured edges. The juxtaposition between the garment’s fabric selections and color choices is an interpretation of how the young bride would have married the cultural influences from her home with the African elements of her new groom’s heritage.
Apart from the spotlight collections, the rest of the SS23 collections were just as amazing. Designers showcased full craftsmanship in their collections. Most designers focused on silhouettes, vibrant colors, and bold prints. While a few infused haute couture-like ruffles in their master patterns. South African fashion is definitely evolving, to say the least. With more younger designers entering the space, the industry stands to see more experimental fashion on the runway.
However, brands such as Boyde and Refuse Clothing, both alumni of the SAFW Scouting Menswear competition, are coming up and maturing with each season. Their brand DNA has transpired more through their SS23 collections. Boyde, a contemporary luxury clothing brand, draws inspiration from geometric modernism, industrial and African architecture, and the aesthetics of pared-down minimalism of exceptional quality and comfort, in line with a sustainable fashion ethos of timeless style. This is the future of menswear! Some of the OG designers are also coming in stronger, aligning with their niches and closing market gaps.
Matsho’s collection, for example, was a whole theatrical film. A love story to her growing empire, which now includes furniture. The new collection, titled “Lifestyle,” featured volume layers of vibrant primary and secondary colors and black kaftans. Her signature is the eye-catching ruffles featured in pink and black detailing on the garments. These garments featured jumpsuits, kimonos, and skirts, as well as different cuts and silhouettes of dresses. The presentation featured a live performance by renowned South African artist Maleh, which was one of the most beautiful experiences and surprises (for some of us). The ramp was decorated with a few furniture items and featured plants. The backdrop on the wall was a nostalgic graphic photo of Matsho Avenue, while models were strutting up and down in beautiful pieces before setting up a formation next to the Matsho Avenue wall. It was a masterpiece that deserved to be the showstopper.
The SAFW SS23 was such a lovely experience. As media, we were all catered to, making the whole experience seamless. I rate this season 10/10 for the whole experience. All thanks to Tutone Communications, Cruz Vodka, Zebra Square, and SA Fashion Week.