BEHIND THE SCENES: MBFWCT Campaign Shoot By Kimberley Lombard

The MBFWCT Campaign Shoot for 2013 took a different approach this year. We are celebrating out theme of “Fashion, Art and Design”. What do you think of the shoot?

GARMENTS CHOSEN, STEAMED AND READY.

 

MICHELLE FROM M.A.C. WAVING HER MAGIC WAND.

AFI’S KYLE BOSHOFF GIVES DIRECTION.

MBFWCT MODEL CASTINGS

A model’s job is to sell clothes. So the better the model, the easier the sell - or so the idea is. That is why selecting the perfect model for the runway is so important. It goes beyond just looks; as Georgie Badiel, one of Africa’s top model-exports, said at the casting: the key to a good runway walk is confidence. 

AFI Fashion events have already had some of the best models on its runways and this year promises to be no different. 

The process to selecting models is both an art and a science. Have a look at some behind-the-scenes images from the casting for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week CT S/S 2013/14. Have a look at some more behind-the-runway images here

Images: SDR Photo/AFI

AN AFRICAN FASHION RENAISSANCE: CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF AFRICA DAY

South Africa will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of AFRICA DAY on the 25th of May. The purpose of the celebrations is to unite Africans and relish in our different cultures and heritage, while highlighting the economic potential of the continent. 

Khothatso Tsotetsi

Fashion is a vehicle that speaks strongly to this. 

African Fashion International, as the authority on African fashion, will be showcasing some of the continent’s most talented designers and champions of the African renaissance. 

Loin Cloth And Ashes

Designers include Christie Brown (Ghana), Thula Sindi (SA), Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), Fred Eboka (Nigeria), Loin Cloth & Ashes (Tanzania) and AFI Next Generation Designers Angie Masike, Wetive Nkosi and Khothatso Tsotetsi. 

Thula Sindi

The event will take place on the 23 May. Keep a look at our blog in the following days to have a look at what happened at this spectacular event. 

Taibo Bacar

BOOSTING VERNACULAR FASHION: Hugo Flear

BOOSTING VERNACULAR FASHION: Hugo Fashion

AFI FASTRACK WINNER 3:

With his range Hugo Flear aimed to ‘boost’ vernacular fashion inspired by South African Art Deco architecture. Flear looked at structure, tone and texture for inspiration. The designer took inspiration from the Art Deco buildings both for the shape of the garments but also the print on the textiles. The recurring pleats in the collection are taken from the vertical and horizontal look of the Art Deco movement. All the fabrics in the collection were developed by Flear himself.

What was the AFI Fastrack program like for you? 

The program creates an amazing platform for publicity, which is great for me to establish my brand. AFI Fastrack is always an amazing learning experience - this was my third time showcasing. 

What did you learn about yourself as a designer and about the industry, from the experience?

That branding is key - you can have an amazing product but if you are not branded correctly, people will forget you. 

What are your plans going forward? Where do you see yourself in 12 months, 5 years and 20 years?

I am currently working as commercial designer for Rosenwerth, and I am learning a lot about the ins and outs of our industry as the label has been around for 50 years. I am also focussing on doing a capsule collection for Egality in July. Then the one thing I am truly excited about is to start working on a new collection for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa in October. 
What business model do you think is most suited to your plans?

The only business model I follow is to create amazing quality work people want to buy. It must be something they can’t see themselves living without. It’s hard work to get the best quality, but it’s something I am working towards on a daily basis. 

What challenges do you face as an emerging designer? How are you going about overcoming these?

It is always a challenge to be unique, to brand myself in a unique way and to stand out from the rest. Also, as I mentioned above, quality. CMT’s see you as a young designer, so they don’t tend to deliver the best. And it’s always hard to find the person who will work with you towards an ultimate goal. 

Images: SDR Photo

UNTITLED: ELENI LABROU

AFI FASTRACK WINNER 2:

Eleni Labrou’s concept is based in a theory about contemporary society, a society obsessed with the body. The designer decided to interpret this obsession into something almost comical in appearance, a satire of the absurd standards by which society judges the body. Labrou chose a parrot as the subject of the print as it is best known for its ability to mimic. 

The 21-year old designer personally designed the parrot- and circle-prints herself, and had them digitally printed on fabric. 

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What was the AFI Fastrack program like for you? Briefly describe the experience.

I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the AFI Fastrack program as it is really a great platform that exposes up-and-coming designers like me to the industry’s ins and outs. I found the panel interview with the judges a fantastic learning experience, and the feedback I received from them is valuable as I begin my career in fashion. Ultimately, the fashion showcase of my collection and seeing it presented on a public platform was a real highlight to the whole experience. The AFI Fastrack program is a much needed initiative to help introduce and guide new talent into the SA fashion industry.

What did you learn about yourself as a designer and about the industry, from the experience?

The industry is definitely a challenging environment. I think that one should definitely have a real passion, and be prepared to work hard. Personally, I’ve come to realise that I truly love this work and see a long and successful career in fashion for myself. I also know that it will come with hard work, and it is important to establish a professional approach and strong work ethic from the beginning. Along with this, there is value in developing your network of contacts and being aware to what is happening in your environment.

What are your plans going forward? Where do you see yourself in 12 months, 5 years and 20 years?

Currently, I am working with my design and business partner James on establishing our clothing brand. Our aim will be within the next year to have created a growing brand identity. We are both passionate about developing the country’s fashion industry, especially from a manufacturing standpoint. So eventually I want to see our clothing brand grow over the course of 5, 10, 20 years into a company that has made a positive difference to clothing manufacture in South Africa by up-skilling workers, generating jobs for local talent and keeping production local.

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What business model do you think is most suited to your plans?

Working on establishing our brand, we have realised the importance of researching and understanding what it is we want to achieve. Regarding the right business model, this is undecided as yet, however I firmly believe in seeking guidance from a mentor, especially one who can support you with skills that you may lack. Along with this, I think it important to look at other companies, and what they have done right (and wrong) so as to learn from their mistakes and successes.

What challenges do you face as an emerging designer? How are you going about overcoming these?

I feel that emerging designers aren’t necessarily equipped with business skills to set up and run a clothing company. It is this fact that can ruin a label before it’s had a chance to get off the ground. Like I mentioned before, I believe in seeking advice and guidance from those with experience to help you along your path.

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Images: SDR Photo

FACES OF WATER: ALEXA LISS

27-year old Alexandra Liss, graduate of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, was one of the winners of the AFI Fastrack™ program 2013, showcased her collection at MBFWJ.

Her well received collection was entitled “Faces of Water” and is based on the fluidity of water, its mysterious and ever-changing forms and patterns. The concept of water is further explored on a molecular level, incorporating water crystal structures into the garments. The colour palate of Liss’s collection is cold hues of blue combined with neutral peachy skin tones. Lightweight and translucent fabrics are hand-manipulated using a signature technique developed specifically for her collection.

AFI FRONT ROW interviewed the designer about her experiences. 

AFI FR: WHAT WAS THE AFI FASTRACK™ PROGRAM LIKE FOR YOU? 

AL: I felt privileged to be selected as one of the finalists to partake in the AFI Fastrack™ program. Showing my collection alongside other talented new designers at MBFWJ was an unforgettable experience. I got my first taste of showcasing my collection as a world-class event, receiving national and international exposure. Being chosen as one of the winners was a great honor and confidence booster in recognition of my potential as a designer. 

AFI FR: WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF AS A DESIGNER AND ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?

AL: I learnt that a clear vision for the future of my label, a strategic plan for the way ahead, as well as a good understanding of the industry, are vital for my success as a fashion designer. 

AFI FR: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS GOING FORWARD? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 12 MONTHS, 5 YEARS AND 20 YEARS?

AL: I am looking forward to my next showing at MBFWAFRICA in October 2013, which I am preparing for at the moment. In the near future, I see my label growing and earning national as well as international recognition. In the more distant future, I hope to sel my clothing to both the local and global market. 

AFI FR: WHAT BUSINESS MODEL IS MOST SUITED TO YOUR PLANS?

AL: I see myself not only as a designer but as an artist with fashion as my medium of choice. My strength lies in innovative craftsmanship, therefore my plan is to market my label through avant-garde shows and exhibitions, while providing beautiful, unique ready-to-wear ranges inspired by the conceptual pieces. My business model takes on an unconventional approach in its artisanal point of view, focusing on originality, a refined aesthetic and high quality products.

AFI FR: WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS AN EMERGING DESIGNER? HOW ARE YOU GOING ABOUT OVERCOMING THESE?

AL:As a designer, I want to be a voice for ecological sustainability, which poses a great challenge of sourcing suitable materials, especially locally.  I plan to overcome this by taking one step at a time, using what is currently available as far as possible, and to incorporate various aspects of sustainability. Another one of my core beliefs is social responsibility within a business. At present, the task of identifying ways in which I can make a positive and long-lasting impact on people’s lives seems a challenge, which I intend to overcome through ground research and perseverance.  The obvious challenge for most designers including myself are differentiation, financial resources, marketing and distribution, but I hope to succeed in these areas through strategic networking and lots of hard work.

IMAGES: SDR PHOTO/SUPPLIED

AFI FASTRACK 2013

AFI FASTRACK FINALIST SHOWS THAT FASHION IS GREAT

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The brief for the Fashion is Great! Campaign was to design an outfit for a ‘stylish person of mature years’. The winning outfit would be worn by British High Commissioner Dame Nicola Brewer at her annual eve of parliament reception. The British High Commission in association with Africa Fashion International invited designers to submit their sketches, the prize being a trip to London Fashion Week 2013.

In the end it was 26 year old Cape Peninsula University’s Hugo Flear who had the winning design. The task to create an outfit for Dame Nicola Brewer was certainly a challenging one. Designers were steered away from an overtly avant-garde approach and also needed to be mindful of who would be wearing the outfit, the occasion, as well as remembering to also design a matching tie for Dame Nicola Brewer’s husband.

Hugo Flear says of the competition, “The experience was great! But the difficult part was to find a design that suited Dame Nicola Brewer. In the end my design was inspired by the British flag which I reconstructed. I included the peplum because it’s very British but I chose to modernise it.”

Dame Nicola Brewer was very excited and happy with the final product saying to the Sunday Times, “I love it because the print incorporates the British flag!”

Hugo is clearly a talent to watch. He is also a finalist in the AFI Fastrack™ competition this year. He says, “AFI provides amazing platforms! I’m also taking part in AFI Fastrack™ this year so it’s just great!”

 

A NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW BLOOD

MBFWJ 2013 marks a new year and a new event for AFI. Along with this, an acting General Manager has joined AFI to direct the organisation until a new General Manager is appointed. This development also sees a change in brand-AFI, with a young, dynamic duo heading up Marketing and Communications, who will be supported by premier agency, Ogilvy JHB. 

Kenneth Makhanya, a respected and efficient businessman and administrator, has been appointed caretaker of AFI and leads the company in pulling off another world-class event at MBFWJ 2013

Other changes at the organisation include the appointment of Kyle Boshoff as Communications Officer and Thato Mtshaki as Marketing Officer (both pictured below, at MBFW Africa 2012). 

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Kyle, who began his career at AFI, has served as the Marketing and Communications Assistant and the E-Communications Coordinator at the organisation. He also spent time as the Deputy Editor of VOILA! magazine and as a freelance stylist and writer. 

His colleague, Thato, studied marketing at the University of Johannesburg and has counted Nunu Ntshingila and Thebe Ikalafeng as mentors. Before her appointment as Marketing Officer, Thato was the Event and Project Coordinator at AFI and has spent time honing her event and marketing skills at various companies. 

The new department is complimented by the services of Ogilvy Johannesburg, who will be handling Public Relations and Marketing support for AFI in 2013. 

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Images: AFI/SDR Photo / supplied

MBFWJ: a successful launch promises a successful event.

MBFWJ 2013 enjoyed a successful launch at the Wits Art Museum on the 18 February 2013. Speakers at the event, which was attended by top fashion industry members and the media, included Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Dr. Zimmerman of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Siphiwe Ngwenya of the GGDA and Phelisa Mangcu of the JTC. 

The event, MC’d by radio DJ Azania, saw the announcement of the MBFWJ schedule and the celebration of the upcoming event. Hosted at Wits Art Museum, in Braamfontein, the event was a celebration of MBFWJ’s theme: fashion, art and design. Close the the Newton Cultural Precinct, where the fashion event will take place, the Museum was a fitting and striking venue. 


Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe (Executive Chairperson of AFI), opened the event, explaining that the “world-calss gallery [the Wits Art Museum] is representattive of how the industry views the inner-city: a modern, aspirational capital of art, fashion and design.”

Said Dr. Martin Zimmerman, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz SA: “2012 was a successful year in terms of bringing African fashion to a host of further and even broader diverse audiences here in South Africa.” This is the continued aim of MBFWJ. Dr. Zimmermann proceeded to introduce the new A-Class, voted the “Most Beautiful Car of 2012” which will be launching shortly in SA.

The next speaker, the CEO for the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency Siphiwe Ngwenya, touched on the “employment creation potential” of the fashion industry and also the partnership between AFI and the GGDA (the GGDA has committed to provide skills development and training for Gauteng-based designers). 

In closing, Phelisa Mangcu (CEO of the Joburg Tourism Company) touched on fashion as the “ultimate lifestyle springboard from which to see the best of Joburg.” Indeed, this is true with MBFWJ which will showcase the best of fashion in the best of the inner-city. 

The event closed with an opportunity for guests to mingle and share in their excitement for the upcoming event. Pictured below are Marco Riekstins (blogger for Man of the Cloth) and Avant Apparel designers Lauren de Plessis and Bailey Allison.

Images: SDR Photo