South Africa Fashion Week S/S23 | 20 April - 23 April
So much can be said about the South African fashion industry. One thing no could ever claim however, is that South African designers err on the side of the subtle. If anything this year’s Fashion Week
demonstrated, it was that Mzansi’s local design talent is louder and prouder than ever.
More than 30 designers took to the runway this year, showcasing their renditions of S/S23 fashion in all its sun-kissed glory. Daring metallics and flamboyant head adornments shared the runway with immaculately beaded jewellery, splashes of vibrant colour and a delightful pastiche of prints.
Now in its 26th year after being established in 1997, the Fashion Week institution in South Africa is relatively new. But that certainly doesn’t mean that South African talent has not been working hard behind the scenes to earn a spot amongst the world’s fashion capital greats.
One factor that makes South Africa’s brand of creativity unique is the industry’s openness to collaboration. Staying true to the spirit of ubuntu – a South African concept that speaks to interdependence, 2023’s Fashion Week welcomed designers and innovators from outside the country’s borders, including Italy and Mozambique. The last few years has seen the emergence of several intercontinental projects, aimed at fostering closer connections between South Africa’s fashion industry and its global counterparts. The Italian fashion community has been particularly instrumental in collaborating with South African designers and giving local talent a chance to shine on international shores.
This year saw one of our very own brands, Viviers Studio
hit the runway with designer, Lezanne Viviers’s new collection which was recently debuted at Milan Fashion Week. The collection, entitled, ‘Karroo, Land of Thirst,’ showcased the richness of the local textile production landscape. Partnering with Mohair SA and Cape Wools, Viviers brought texture to the forefront, with detailed fashion pieces featuring luxurious blends of wool, mohair and ostrich by-products. We really couldn’t be prouder.
This year’s Fashion Week also put the spotlight on Indigenous culture, using fashion to tell the stories that have moulded the country’s rich heritage. Rubicon’s collection brought together hints of Eastern and Western influences, blended together with Africa’s trademark style. The collection was a nod to the reimagined myth of origin story about the lost kingdom on Mapungubwe. The aesthetic was romantic and sensual, translating into garments that flowed effortlessly, only to be reined in by structured edging. Mantsho, another crowd-favourite, brought extravagance to the catwalk, treating guests to the opulence of frills, ruffles, ribbons and layers; all finished off with a daring winged liner.
This year’s Fashion Week represented a yearning for more – more expression, more freedom, more exploration – South Africa’s fashion community wants it all.
Feast your eyes on these top runway looks: