Fashion week fast approaches


FASHION, by definition, is always looking for the new – and this year there are several new additions to Joburg Fashion Week, which is taking the city as its inspiration.

Designer David Tlale will show off his winter collectionDesigner David Tlale will show off his winter collection

Joburg Fashion Week runs from 15 to 19 February.

Paul Leisegang, the managing director of African Fashion International (AFI), owners of the week, explains: "2011 brings with it exciting changes. Not only a new team, but also an inspired commitment to partnerships; partnerships from grassroots level up with the Foschini Fastrack Graduate Day and then reaching global proportions through the involvement with the RED campaign."

The RED campaign works with some of the world's most recognised brands – such as American Express, Apple, Bugaboo, Converse, Dell, Emporio Armani, Gap, Hallmark, Nike, Penfolds, Penguin and Starbucks – to make unique products. Up to 50 percent of the profits on these are given to global funds to invest in HIV and Aids programmes in Africa.


Fastrack kicks off the fashion week on 15 February at the new Fashion Kapitol in downtown Joburg.

"In partnership with Foschini, Fastrack is a developmental day that will not only showcase young designers, but will also provide an interactive platform with educational and informative activities," says Leisegang.

"[It is] a day created to developing and accelerating the new generation of design talent. Our exciting new partnership with Foschini has the long-term objective of improving the pool of new designers."

Design schools participating in Fastrack include Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Johannesburg, Sewafrica and Lisof. Participating graduate designers are Kutloano Molokomme, Minette Meyer, Nadine Holloway, Melita Ngoasheng, Lebogang Moatshe, Sunette Scheepers, Jessica Sutherland, Pride Nkosi, Laura Kass, Nkulueko Msibi, Phumzile Langa, Anja Bredell, Nkosi Nkala, Chantelle Nascimento, Sello Medupe and Portia Moruthane.

But it goes a step further: AFI has launched two developmental projects for young producers and photographers. These new talents will be given the chance to prove themselves and alongside young designers, will be able to fast track their careers through opportunity and collaboration.

Fashion enthusiasts are in for a treat during Joburg Fashion WeekFashion enthusiasts are in for a treat during Joburg Fashion Week

Besides the catwalk, there will be plenty of entertainment on the day. Deejays will be on the decks between fashion shows; and break dancers, fire dancers, and hip hop dancers krumping, locking and popping along to graffiti artists, as well as various competitions will be added to the mix.

Main event

In another first, the main Joburg Fashion Week will move to new pastures from its usual Sandton location. Leading and upcoming local designers will transform the Bus Factory, Constitution Hill, the Rand Club, the Johannesburg Art Gallery and Nelson Mandela Bridge, among other city landmarks, into fashion havens for the stylish week.

Designers showing their autumn and winter collections will include Suzaan Heyns, Errol Arendz, Klûk CGDT, David Tlale, Wild Fig, Abigail Betz and Heni. Driven by AFI, the show is set to provide a platform for the promotion of African fashion design.

AFI founded, owns and operates some of the continent's most prestigious fashion weeks, including Joburg Fashion Week, Africa Fashion Week, Cape Town Fashion Week and the African Fashion Awards.

"This year, we have looked to the city for inspiration and our selected designers will showcase their autumn / winter 2011 collections in iconic heritage venues throughout the city," says Precious Moloi-Motsepe, the AFI's chairperson.

"We've chosen to collaborate with the Johannesburg Development Agency and the City of Johannesburg with an aim to foster partnerships rather than sponsorships."

The Fashion Kapitol is at 109 Prichard Street; the Bus Factory is at 3 President Street; Constitution Hill straddles Braamfontein and Hillbrow; the Rand Club is on Fox Street; the Johannesburg Art Gallery is on the corner of Klein and King George streets; and the Nelson Mandela Bridge links Braamfontein and Newtown.

Sponsors of Joburg Fashion Week include Foschini, L'Oreal Professionnel, iFashion, Gary Rom Hairdressing and Iman cosmetics.