The call to reclaim the true identity of African creativity and design has been the message that resonates with many creatives in the year 2017, and the start of SA Fashion Week presented the perfect platform for designers to heed this call. We profile some of the designers we’re excited to see.
Arnold Phasha is a designer taking over the industry with bold fashion, and his showcase this week was testament to it. Phasha trained as a designer at Tshwane University of Technology and, according to Fashion Week, is known to blur “the lines between masculine and feminine, to create innovative straight-lined, limit- and timeless clothes. He doesn’t intend to start a revolution — he simply sticks to what he does well.”
HOUSE OF DIVA
Swaziland-based fashion label House of Diva is the brainchild of Phiwase Nxumalo and specialises in creating cutting edge designs that are fit for every kind of womxn. The label provides strictly ready to wear collections that are inspired by different African fabrics, which are sourced all over the continent. The label, which was founded in 2008, aims to create colorful garments for curvy women with rich textiles and says these fabrics provide an amazing African offering to unite us as a continent.
Fashion label MmusoMaxwell is a womxn’s wear brand based in Johannesburg and created in 2016 by Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane. According to the brand, which is inspired by African heritage and contemporary culture, it strives to create sustainable clothing through the usage of natural and high quality commercial fibers, accentuating detail, practicality and wear-ability.
Fashion International Young Designer of the Year 2014 winner Rich Mnisi is known for his edgy contemporary designs. The brand explores the treasures engraved within Africa, with a keen interest in pop culture. Rich’s designs explore various forms of artistic imaginations and carries its classic contemporary look while staying true to its African identity.
This year’s showcase features newcomers Rich Factory, founded by Rina and Dimo Kutama and well known for their use of Zambian-inspired design and chitenge cloth. The show is set to be a reaffirmation of Africa’s influence on design. As appropriation of African cloth and design still plagues the international fashion world, it seems revolutionary that designers from across the continent and diaspora are reclaiming design and inspiration from the “motherland”.
Free State-born designer Palesa Mokubung and owner of Mantsho is celebrated for her edgy silhouettes and her use of fabrics like shweshwe. The Johannesburg based designer says her career started after she walked into a boutique in Rosebank and impressed its owner with an outfit she had made herself.SA Fashion Week AW18 is waking place at Sandton City this week