South Africa has a whole ecosystem of fashion dedicated channels promoting fashion tourism, providing a platform for established designers to present their new bodies of work to their prospective client base and for emerging designers to find that all important gateway into the industry.
This is what the Durban Fashion Fair, a subsidiary event under the Durban Business Fair seeks to achieve. Created in 2012 in partnership with the EThekwini Municipality, the Durban Fair has annually created a level playing turf for Durban bred design labels to show their wares to the press and buying public.
For the past 5 years, the City has invested over R 9 million into the fashion development initiatives that include business management training, fashion shows, mentorship and international fashion internship. To date, over 100 young designers have been afforded opportunities in various fashion related and lifestyle events.
This year’s Durban Fashion Fair began with a launch fashion showcase featuring eight Durban based designers debuting their Spring 16 collections, opened by the Sandile Duke Mngadi run Duke Clothe Your Soul design label.
The label’s new Spring 16 collection is far more commercial than we’ve come to expect from South African labels which are usually heavily conceptual in the interpretation of their inspirations for the season’s clothing.
Focusing mainly on outerwear, Mngadi offers us a roulette of outerwear options, ranging from Blouson style overcoats jazzed up with African inspired wax print inserts, to button up jumpsuit inspired by thermal underwear. The label’s military inspired jackets are the cream of the bunch though, complex but perfectly balanced with zip and pocket detailing that makes each visually interesting, but not too much that it becomes an eyesore.
While we are tempted to ask for more cohesive design work that incorporates head to toe looks, we appreciate that Mngadi, the creative director of the label keeps his focus on one item and ensures the collection is both critically appealing and commercially viable.
What a way to start a fashion show.
Photo Credit: Simon Deiner/Sdr Photo.