Three up-and-coming designers who stole the show at SA Fashion Week

04 May 2021 - 15:10
Artho Eksteen, winner of the 2021 SA Fashion Week New Talent Search competition, surrounded by models wearing his designs.
Artho Eksteen, winner of the 2021 SA Fashion Week New Talent Search competition, surrounded by models wearing his designs.
Image: Eunice Driver Photography for SA Fashion Week

SA Fashion Week (SAFW) never fails to showcase Mzansi’s most exciting up-and-coming designers through their annual New Talent Search competition, and this year was no exception despite the entire event moving into the digital space.

Entrants were challenged to “change how we look at fabric design” by creating trans-seasonal collections that made the most of sustainable materials while minimising waste and playing up the power of prints.  

Of the six finalists who debuted their collections on the runway as part of the competition’s online finale on April 29, here are three who stole the show:

ARTHO EKSTEEN

Eksteen was crowned the winner of the 2021 New Talent Search competition for his colourful collection which fused fine art and fashion.

He looked to friends, family and his boyfriend to create lively sketches which were turned into the unique prints that he heroed in his garments.

Designs by Artho Eksteen.
Designs by Artho Eksteen.
Image: Eunice Drive Photography for SA Fashion Week

On the SAFW website, Eksteen said he took inspiration from the “surrealist method of Exquisite Cadaver, where a collection of images or words is collectively assembled in order to reveal a completed artwork”.

SIPHO MBUTO

Mbuto’s striking patchwork collection was inspired by the idea of children playing house. It celebrates the gender fluidity of this game, which often sees boys and girls switch between masculine and feminine roles while they play.

Designs by Sipho Mbuto.
Designs by Sipho Mbuto.
Image: Eunice Drive Photography for SA Fashion Week

SAINT VUYO BY THULANI MLAMBO

Mlambo has worked under the wings of a number of well-known designers including LVMH Prize winner Thebe Magugu.

Now at the helm of his own brand, Saint Vuyo, Mlambo showed a collection featuring prints inspired by the Wheel of Fortune card in the tarot deck. When dealt face up, this card “brings good luck, good karma and good life cycles in destiny”, states the SAFW website.

Designs by Thulani Mlambo of Saint Vuyo.
Designs by Thulani Mlambo of Saint Vuyo.
Image: Eunice Drive Photography for SA Fashion Week

His garments were created using a zero-waste approach which aims to ensure no piece of fabric was left unused during the design and manufacturing process.

Additional reporting by Staff Reporter.