Patterns, colour, texture and silhouettes. These were the common themes seen on the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg 2016 (MBFWJ16). Africa Fashion International (AFI) in partnership with Mercedes Benz kicked of the South African edition in Johannesburg which went down on 10th-12th March 2016. The three-day event, which was organised and curated by African Fashion Week, was held at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City. Incorporating the heart of Johannesburg’s business centre to host the event falls in line with AFI’s vision of showcasing at South Africa’s most intriguing venues.
Veterans such as Leigh Schubert, Khosi Nkosi, Stefania Marland and a host of other exciting designers took to the runway to showcase their Autumn and Winter collections. As fascinating as Fashion Week is, the fact that it incorporates and grooms up and coming designers is truly exciting and noteworthy. (Ehem, are you listening Nairobi?) One of the ways young designers get involved is through the AFI Fastrack competition. The incubation programme and design acceleration podium aims to nurture young design talent. Ten contestants made the cut this year, including the Kenyan brand ‘Ikojn’, and nine of these designers had the opportunity to show their collections. But it was Sibusiso ‘Buda’ Malete, Chesney Day Williams, Velly Maswanganye and Tayla Shan Nguskos who were announced the winners.
David Tlale was the only designer to present two different collections; one of them being the extremely anticipated ‘The Intern’. What started out as the A-list designer’s personal effort in 2013 to offer an in-house internship program, has grown into a partnership with the South African Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, which aims to groom the next generation of fashion designers. And for the lucky few that make the cut, they not only acquire important networking opportunities but also the chance to showcase alongside established designers at the prestigious Mercedes Benz Fashion and Design Week.
The Five talented ‘interns’ who got the chance to present their designs at MBFWJ16 were Cindy Mfabe, Maxwell Welile Boko, Ntando Ngwenya, Mbali Buthelezi and Siphosihle Masango. the concept is similar to the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) Fashion Focus, which is a mentorship created by LFDW in collaboration with the British Council. Boko and Buthelezi’s collections really shown through for me with their simple silhouettes, graphic pleats and contemporary shapes. While their collections were a cohesive effort, each piece in the collection managed to make a statement.
Here are some of the designers that stood out for us this season.
All photos in this spread is subject to copyright and courtesy of © AFRICAN FASHION INTERNATIONAL