South Africa Fashion Week 2019 A Platform For Global Recognition.

By Katekani Shivambu

Distinctive craftmanship and bespoke detailing will be the order of the day at South African Fashion Week’s (SAFW) Spring/Summer 2019 Luxury Collections in Johannesburg this year. Announcing the line-up for the four-day event in April, the 21-year old business-to-business platform reiterated its single-minded commitment to promoting a world-class African design ethos and industry across the continent.

According to SAFW director Lucilla Booyzen, the broad-based consumer exposure that this initiative gave to South African design will have a major and ongoing positive impact on the industry despite coming to an end this season. She saluted Woolworths for its bold vision and continued support.

 The Woolworths Style By SA showcase will open the 34th season of SA Fashion Week. In a fitting finale to this ground-breaking collaboration that has built a significant retail presence for local design over the past 3 years, the show will include internationally acclaimed Thebe Magugu as well as Mmusomaxwell and Wanda Lephoto.


 Thebe Magagu

Magugu, who was listed as one of Vogue Italy’s 2018 Vogue Talents, recently also scooped the winning award at London Fashion Week’s International Fashion Showcase exhibition of the fifteen exciting new creatives to watch, with his distinctive globalised African signature. The 25-year-old, Kimberely-born talent is one of the 20 international shortlisted designers for prestigious LMVH Prize 2019. This honour is more weighted given that he was chosen from over 1700 applicants in the world!

Magugu shares the show with design duo MMUSOMAXWELL who hit the headlines when mega-star Beyoncé wore one of their looks at the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 in December last year.

Both these 2018 SAFW New Talent Search winners, are currently stocked in luxury boutique,Luminance.

Designer Wanda Lephoto who continues to feature in exciting collaboration and fuses cultural stories to educate people through style, completes the line-up.

Equally important is the bi-annual SAFW Trade Show that will run parallel to the runway collections and will showcase fifty carefully curated women- and menswear, jewellery, millinery and accessory ranges.

Featured in the Twenty-One Years of SA Fashion Week retrospective book available on the SA Fashion Week website and in Sandton City, Exclusive Books , industry stalwart Amanda Laird- Cherry, who launched her first collection at SAFW in 1999, returns for a double bill with equally iconic perennial, Clive Rundle.

Following a long tradition of turning fashion inside out with his wizardry, the self-proclaimed constructionist, will be working with mad-made corregation as a trope to interpret pleats with conceptual references ranging from rice paddies to the earth’s shifting tectonic plates – all interpreted in slate greys and teal blues with copper foiling.

Cape Town-based Helon Melon has collaborated with local mills like Svenmill and the SA Mohair Cluster to create a highly wearable, sustainable and ethical fashion collection that will be available online immediately after the show.

Helon Melon

Eco-inspired Lunar, starts a fresh chapter in the brand’s 21 year history with new owner and creative director, Nicola Luther and former Stoned Cherrie designer, Sonja Stanislaus-Kaw Di- Aping, working with natural fabrics including cotton, linen, Tencel and Rayon to explore the beauty and complexity of the South African landscape through the lens of great South African literature with origami-inspired pleating and eloquently structured proportions and shapes.

Celebrity designer Palesa Mokubung, of Mantsho, completes the trio with her distinctive Afrojazzy signature.

SS 2018-19 Motsho, Palesa Mokubung

SELFI by founder Celeste Arendse, derives from the idea of self, self-empowerment and personal agency with each collection an expression of authenticity and self-hood.
African Style Story’s chic ready-to-wear is currently being stocked locally and internationally inter alia by stores such as Lalauxxe, B. Scene, Icon and Prey boutiques as well as online at Zando and Muster as well as at Happy Company in Lisbon.

“I love the many shapes and sizes of women in South Africa,” 

remarks Isabel de Villiers. 

“More than anything it is the curves of the female form that inspire me,” 

says the Pretoria based designer, who has become synonymous with the concept of inclusive fashion, about her new collection which will feature nine plus-size models this season.

Isabel de Villiers

Judith Atelier, who works to create the ‘Epitome of Female Sophistication’, recently
made her collection debut on, further expanding her high-end, couture brand.

Judith Atelier

Fashion’s headline king, Gert-Johan Coetzee, again walked the talk when he dressed Oprah Winfrey for the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 in December last year and will undoubtedly continue to wow us when he takes to the runway for his 18th season.

Gert-Johan Coetzee

In line with the South African Wool Industry’s strategy to promote the exquisite luxury of sustainably-produced wool as a highly desirable designer fibre, Cape Wool SA will once again join forces with womenswear brand Erre and Carlo Gibson’s Klipa menswear.

Erre’s distinctively confident signature reached new heights in 2018 when HRH Princess Charlene of Monaco became a regular client of their pared-down power-dressing after wearing it for her cover on woman’s magazine Rooi Rose.

An unabashed love of the theatrical combined with a keen sense of commercial wearability has marked Klipa as one of the most exciting labels to watch since launching in 2018. This season will see its’ strong African-inspired aesthetic mix winter and summer into a textured cocktail of natural fabrics – wool, jerseys, cotton - starting with black and moving to colour in a dynamic visual representation of ongoing inclusion.

MINI Scouting Menswear in association with GQ South Africa has aimed to nurture and grow the diversity of the industry’s menswear designers since inception. This season reflects that vision with designers drawn from a myriad of backgrounds and each telling a unique story with their respective collections. The finalists are:

MINI Scouting Menswear in association with GQ South Africa 2018

Richard Hoy whose pop culture-inspired collection references Post Punk nostalgia with an eclectic mix of colour and textures that fast track old glam with reckless attitude and grit.

Reign combines religious tradition and Zulu culture to express the spiritual journey of the Shembe to the holy mountain of Nnhlangakazi

Denzel Vilakazi launched his gender neutral Nesu brand three years ago after completing his studies at the Tshwane University of Technology. He also graduated from the SAFW 21 Steps to Retail Programme.

Dorcas Madi and George Mkhoma introduced their Samurai-inspired Tabitha Style label more than a decade ago combining silhouettes, textures and colours in a distinctively modern way.

ZAZÜ by Zandile Makombe is a trans-seasonal and minimalistic menswear signature that subscribes to the Slow Fashion ethos that designs with the lifecycle of garments in mind.
BI PAREL by University of Johannesburg graduate Shaylene Morris is a Japanese- inspired streetwear range that focuses on juggling the fine balance between innovation and construction.

Frontrunner of the country’s gender-neutral fashion movement, De Mil’s distinctive aesthetic will end the the 4 day event. Ephraim Molingoana, much adored veteran of SA Fashion Week, has been refining his authentically South African Ephymol identity for two decades. Expect his Men of the World Collection to be a spectacular homage to the past 22 years.

The SAFW Spring/Summer 2019 Luxury Collections and Trade Show will be staged at the Protea Court Rooftop, Sandton City Shopping Centre from Wednesday 3 – Saturday 6 April 2019. The SAFW Trade Show will be open daily from 14h00 – 19h00. Tickets are selling between R100 to R175 and will be available from 1 March 2019, from Computicket.


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