“SOUTH Africa’s fashion industry might be worth north of R30bn, but it lacks common sense and places too much emphasis on glamorous events, rather than collecting the rands and cents in sales that will keep it afloat.
This controversial view, by internationally acclaimed fashion designer Clive Rundle, comes, ironically, as designers and fashionistas converge on Johannesburg for the annual South Africa Fashion Week, which started on Thursday.
Mr Rundle, who himself showcased his latest designs at SA Fashion Week, said South Africa holds far too many fashion weeks.
In 2004 there were only two large fashion events in South Africa, but by 2008 there were nine. SA Fashion Week has two shows a year while Africa Fashion International, headed by Precious Motsepe, has Fashion Week Joburg, Fashion Week Cape Town, Fashion Week Africa and also hosts the Fashion Awards and other trade expos.
Six years ago Grail Research valued the South African industry at $3.4bn (R30.3bn) and industry pundits say it is growing.
The reason for this growth, they say, is a new push by government to support the industry and a new awareness of “domestic brands”.
Designer Gert-Johan Coetzee also said only one fashion week, held twice a year, is enough .
There might be overkill but the motivation behind fashion events is noble.
Mr Rundle said the main idea is to show that there is such a thing as an “African designer”.
SA Fashion Week founder Lucilla Booyzen said that fashion weeks have seen designers’ businesses grow, with new markets being opened up locally and internationally and jobs created.
Thanks to SA Fashion Week, Ms Booyzen said, South African fashion designers are selling their garments in national retail outlets such as Stuttafords, Woolworths and Edgars.
SA Fashion Week has entered into a partnership with Edgars to sell all the designers’ products that were showcased at the week last year. . .”
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Photocredit: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo
Photo description: A model walks the runway in a Clive Rundle design at last year’s SA Fashion Week