New designers slay their SA Fashion Week debut

02 November 2017 - 11:16 By MAHLATSE JAMES
House of Diva.
House of Diva.
Image: Supplied

It's easy to imagine it's every fashion designer's ambition to showcase at a laudable fashion platform with fans applauding their masterly creations as they strut the catwalk.

This isn't a far-fetched goal, considering that unearthing promising South African brands and affording them an opportunity to be discovered by agents and the media is an integral part of SA Fashion Week.

New makers of trendy clothes take to the ramp under the knowledgeable guardianship of Lucilla Booyzen - founder and director of the SAFW - and her expert team of curators.

These hopefuls get bestowed with more than an opportunity to have their clothing met with oohs and aahs from a front row laden with industry insiders and possible consumers.

A sense of business acumen is imparted to these young designers through a 21-step business of fashion education programme.

It's an innovative strategy, furnished with mentorship platforms from design to retail with the goal of exposing talent to a network of collaborators, manufacturers and textile businesses.

All this is praiseworthy, but what becomes of designers who accomplish commercial success ahead of being received as darlings of the fashion week runway?

Last week's showcase of the autumn and winter 2018 collections saw a host of such talent taking to the runway for the first time.

Phiwase Nxumalo of House of Diva has established noticeable retail presence, with her vibrant clothing flooding rails across Burgundy Fly's Gauteng-wide string of boutiques.

Her debut on the #SAFW runway deserved all the applause it received because it's clear that she designs wardrobe for all kinds of women.

Another designer whose inaugural parade on the runway made waves was Rina Chunga Kutama of Rich Factory fame, who was the subject of much media hype for her flamboyant show in collaboration with Nestl's AERO.

The success of these two brands is an important lesson for budding designers with a penchant for putting profitable prospects before runway relevance.

This article was originally published in The Times