In between the flashing lights, the gaggles of influencers and the low vibrations from the models’ heels as they strut down the runway, there are always a few big moments that stand out at fashion week. SA Fashion Week showcases some of the country’s most exciting and talented designers, all of who made strong contributions to the contemporary fashion narrative with their SAFW SS18 collections. These are the big five moments to note:
1. Designer street style
Street style stars went all out, wearing both local and international designer brands. Kefilwe Mabote and Sarah Langa looked like real life Incredibles in head-to-toe Prada. Nicola Cooper and Ricci Kalish were pleated perfection in Thebe Magugu, while K Naomi Noinyane embodied flirty frills in new-season Matte Nolim.
@safashionweek AW18 day 2 wearing @prada This full look is from the @prada SS18 collection, Prada worked with eight visionary artists spanning the new generational spectrum, each of whom has illustrated women in a uniquely empowering way. Women’s fashion inherently tries to evaluate the depiction of femininity and feminism, looking outside itself to tell its own story.
2. The big ‘trend’
As the contemporary feminist movement continues to develop in significant ways, designers are incorporating more masculine design elements into womenswear. It’s a democratisation of what was traditionally thought of as ‘menswear’ and ‘womenswear.’ Though this is happening on the menswear runways elsewhere as well, real women off the runway are much quicker to adopt this movement (don’t call it a trend – it’s not fleeting) than men. This is a story rich with symbolism, but on a formal level it simply means the season’s obsession with suit and shirt dressing is sure to continue into Spring 2018.
Amanda Laird Cherry
3. Gert-Johan Coetzee’s Mc Donald’s collection
Walking into the show venue, one of the last things you’d expect to find on your seat is a McDonald’s takeaway bag. The brand’s collaboration with designer to the stars Gert-Johan Coetzee was a total novelty. The designer showed his usual va-va-voom evening gowns, followed by a squad of tracksuit and hoodie-clad girls donning the yellow M. The occasion, in case you were curious, is the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac. Gert-Johan closed the show with star power – Nomzamo Mbatha, in red dress with a train of bridal proportions, danced down the runway and out into the foyer to greet the fans beyond.
4. DUT presents new talent
The Durban University of Technology offered a showcase of their top students – a fascinating look into what the future of SA Design may hold. It’s a bright one, rich with luxury-orientated craft, elevated street wear, and outsized proportions.
5. Style by SA
The Woolworths Style by SA show is always exciting to watch: you know you’ll be able to purchase any of the runway looks when they drop in stores before the month is up. (It’s not necessary to emphasise the importance of supporting local design here, right?) SA favourites Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu, and Sindiso Khumalo showed plenty of pieces to add to your shopping list. Statement dresses, romantic separates and strong coats all play into the aforementioned gender democratisation.
Overall, there’s a feeling that local designers are beginning to make significant strides to both defining and fulfilling their potentials. You’ve heard this before, and you would have heard it again during the inter-show chatter at SAFW SS18: if there was ever a time for (South) Africa to shine, it’s now.
By Daniël Geldenhuys