“Johannesburg — Struggling but deserving designers got a chance to show work inspired by the creativity and history of South Africa’s most famous township as Soweto’s first fashion week opened Thursday.
The township on Johannesburg’s southwestern edge was the natural place for a show for new designers, said 23-year-old entrepreneur and Soweto Fashion Week organizer Stephen Manzini.
“You walk around Soweto, you see creativity everywhere,” Manzini said.
Soweto, a South African township, once crippled by apartheid got its first fashion week.Manzini didn’t ask designers to show extensive collections or charge them to take part, unlike the country’s more established fashion weeks. Fashion blogger Mahlatse James says this gives designers who have not yet made a name a chance to show their work to boutique owners and potential investors.
“Creatives from Soweto do need their own platform,” James said. “If the other fashion platforms cannot afford them that, they have to create their own.”
Manzini acknowledges Soweto Fashion Week is an ambitious title for his three-day showcase of 16 designers. Rehearsals were held in the parking lot and garden of a modest apartment borrowed from a tailor friend, in a northern Johannesburg neighborhood some designers found difficult to reach by taxi van, the main form of cheap mass transportation in South Africa.
“We refused to be stopped because we don’t have funding,” said Manzini, who raised 60,000 rand (about $7,500) from churches, business people and other sponsors for the event. His mother, a nurse, tapped her contacts and acted as chairwoman of the event, and is someone off whom he could bounce ideas, Manzini said.
Manzini is confident that in coming years, the event will grow to a full week and give many more designers an opportunity. He hopes to start his own business distributing designs from Soweto Fashion Week. . .” – Full Story on First Post.com
Photocredit: Associated Press/FirstPost