SA fashionistas on why Fashion Week still matters

Fashion bloggers share their love for the fashion festival and explain why it’s become a ‘ritual’.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and TV personality Minnie Dlamini, both dressed by Gert-Johan Coetzee, at SA Fashion Week on Tuesday 5 April. Picture: Hannes Danzfuss

JOHANNESBURG - While SA Fashion Week is largely known for its high-end glamour and star-studded attendance, it's also become a space for young designers and fashionistas to hone in on their personal style.

The fashion festival is in its second day of events after opening up with Gert-Johan Coetzee's Spring Summer collection, presented by Visa, on Tuesday, with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who was spotted in the front row.

Coetzee, who dressed Madonsela, said, "We named her gown 'the renewal dress'. Green is the colour of growth and renewal and new beginnings."

A big CONGRATS to my beautiful friend @gertjohancoetzee for his new collection. It was spectacular. And to have the humble Thuli Madonsela in front row supporting you makes me beam with pride. #SouthAfricaMustRise #fashion #instafashion #politics #womansfashion #safashionweek #hpc

A photo posted by Jay (@jayanstey) on

Taking the attention off the celebrity guests, Eyewitness News asked SA's top fashion bloggers to share their thoughts on the latest showcase and what keeps them coming back year after year.

Aside from her commitment to supporting the industry Thithi Nteta, a freelance stylist, says it is important for her to know about the latest trends on offer.

"I keep coming back because I think it's really important for us to support the industry. I know there is sometimes a disconnect between what happens here in Fashion Week and what happens in retail, but if I spot something or a new designer that I like, I do contact them and if I can afford to purchase their items, I do; if I can't I don't."

Fashion journalist Mahlatse James has praised the event and believes Fashion Week plays a more pivotal role beyond the glitz.

"It's my church! SA Fashion Week makes sense because, not only does it put designers in a position of being business savvy, it actually makes them retail-ready designers. It kind of propels them in that direction. So it's great to see designers have something to do after the runway."



Despite having supported the careers of local designers like David Tlale, Gavin Rajah and Coetzee, Nteta says Fashion Week is not necessarily the 'be all and end all' for aspiring designers.

"I don't think Fashion Week is the 'be all and end all' of how you can make it in this career. If I was a designer and I had to pick between creating a collection that I could put into retail, and selling as opposed to showing at Fashion Week, I would rather put in a collection that I can retail and sell."

Nteta and James have both encouraged the public to be on the lookout for young designers featured in the line-up.

James said, "I am going to sound very biased cause I am excited to witness the emergence of men's wear coming through, so there is a young Durban designer, Mxolisi Luke Mkhize of House of Saint Luke; he has created a collection that is so authentically South African, minus the cheese factor. Its people want to wear, not occasion wear so to speak however it fits well with any occasion"

Fashion Week ends on Saturday, closing off with Ephraim Molingoane's Ephymol, House of Ole, Naked Ape and The Warner Music Fashion Experience.