The times they are aâ€™changing. This was the all-pervasive buzz as Sanlam SA Fashion Week took the plunge and realigned the fashion industryâ€™s calendar by staging this yearâ€™s Spring/Summer Collections at the beginning of April to synchronize it with the retail industryâ€™s planning cycle. A brave move that broke with the eventâ€™s traditional August slot it has occupied since its inception thirteen years ago, but one that now sets designers firmly on course to be ready and open for larger-scale business with the broad spectrum of local retail from the independent niche boutiques to the mega chains that work up to twelve months ahead of the season.
And what a heady buzz it was! Serving as the launch event for Joziâ€™s hottest new inner city venue, The Forum at Turbine Hall, the bumper programme included the runway collections of 34 new and established South African designers, the launch of Nine Takes, a gorgeous retrospective of the SSAFW/DAC Fashion Fusion projectâ€™s progress to date, including extensive commentary from designers and crafters who have been collaborating on this initiative for the past five years, and the 6th annual DAC Fashion Seminar, which this year headlined under the provocative title of Get With the Fashion Programme to clearly state the unequivocal focus on the nitty gritty of developing dynamic entrepreneurial design enterprises.
Included in the line-up were topical presentations on retail, marketing, design and craft by industry heavyweights such as New York-based fashion designer and milliner, Albertus Swanepoel, independant SME consultant to Sanlam, Gavin Reddy and Joanne Coelho and Amber Jones, the dynamic womenswear team from value fashion retailer Mr. Price, as well as a hands on practical programme of cutting-edge contemporary designer skills workshops hosted by noted experts such as internationally acclaimed jewellery designer Cari Mari Wilsenach who demonstrated new approaches to jewellery design by working with plastic and perspex.
And as always, good partnerships were critical to the success of the event.
Ionline kept the wires alive for filing breaking news from the media centre while the Redken dream team delivered hair dressed to perfection. Polished, glossy, well conditioned tresses were kept neat and slick with the brandâ€™s exceptional range of styling aids. Modern vintage takes on braids, intricately woven off the face to off-set beautiful skin and sculpted brows or sassy buns, sitting on top or to the side of the head, added impeccably modern contemporary glamour.
Sassiest drinks on the block â€“ the yummy new power-packed GlacĂ©au Vitamin Water and Aqua Crystal, kept flagging thirst levels at bay while Pernod Ricardâ€™s fabulous Long Mountain bubbles ensured high spirits in the media and VIP lounges.
But the words that best wrap up SSAFW Summer 09/10 came from E.TV executive producer, Lynn Gaines. â€śWhat else could I possibly say except that it was truly an incredible experience. As E.TV and South Africans we are so proud to have been privy to such great creative talent. The entire event ran seamlessly from the minute you parked your car right up until you left the building totally exhilarated and inspired a few hours later. The venue was truly remarkableâ€¦how they converted what was merely a building site hours before, into a wonderland of white fabric and delicious lighting is testament yet again to pure creative genius. It was a true honor for E.TV to be part of this event.â€ť
Are you in the business fashion?
Then it will be worth your while to diarise the SSAFW 2010 Winter Designer Collections at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 16 - 19 September which will run concurrent with the annual SSAFW Designer Exhibition where designers will sell their summer 09/10 collections directly to the public. The SSAFW Cape Town and Durban Regional Collections will follow shortly after.
Lunar to launch ready-to-wear bridal collection
Eco designer label Lunar is set to launch a ready-to-wear bridal collection at the end of May.
The aim of the collection will be to provide the contemporary bride and her retinue with an easy alternative to having a dress made.
"Our brides are predominantly working women who don't have the time to spend hours in consultations and fittings. With this range we promise a memorable but much less protracted and time-consuming process to finding the perfect dress for the big day. The range will follow the standard 32-36 size curve but we will include a customization service to ensure that every dress fits the wearer perfectly,â€ť says founder of Lunar, Karen Ter Morshuizen.
The new collection, which will launch with twenty initial styles to be topped up seasonally, will see Ter Morshuizen team up with Melissa Botha of Melba, an established bridal wear designer. The collaboration will combine their unique styles and capitalize on their extensive experience in this area.
An interesting range of accessories of veils, sashes and bridal jewelery designed by songstress Louise Carver will also be on offer.
The collection will be available at both the Johannesburg and Cape Town stores and online through www.lunarlife.co.za and garments range from R3000 â€“ R25 000.
Times Mobile scoops Webby Award
Times Mobile, the online site of the Sunday Times and The Times, has proved itself as serious mobile content player in the international arena by being selected as an official honoree at the International Academy of Digital Arts and Science (IADAS)â€™s 13th annual Webby Awards a mere six months after going live.
The official honoree category is only awarded to the top 15% of all submissions and represents just 1500 of the total number of 10 000 entries received from more than sixty countries and including all fifty states of the USA.
â€śThis is a fantastic achievement which places Times Mobile among established and global mobile sites such as CNN Mobile, News Week, BBC Mobile and TIME,â€ť said Helen Dawson, Marketing Manager of The Times Online.
Mantsho shines onâ€¦
Sanlam SA Fashion Week stalwart Palesa Mokubungâ€™s afro chic Mantsho range is clearly also on the radar for global diamond giant, De Beers who commissioned Mokubung to design the modelsâ€™ garments for the gala event to announce this yearâ€™s winners of the annual De Beers Shining Light Competition.
The competition was launched in1996 as part of the Diamond Trading Companyâ€™s (DTC) vision to grow a strong South African jewelery industry by contributing to the development of technical and design skills among South African designers as well as a distinctive South African jewelery design ethos.
See why Mantsho is such a hot favourite and why her Barbie Doll dress has been in non-stop production since she introduced it five weeks ago at the Sanlam SA Fashion Weekâ€™s Summer Collections 09/10, at the Mantsho Dress & Coat sale on the 29th and 30th May 09 at Newtownâ€™s Darkie Cafe.
Tosca Couture on the move
Another Johannesburg-born designer, now based in New York, continues to glam up the wardrobes of beautiful people around the world.
Henry Schickerling, a founder member of the South African couture syndicate, who had worked with top Italian designers, Mila Schon in Milan and Pino Lancetti in Rome, teamed up with Marion Milenovic, a former Oscar de la Renta sales consultant, to form Tosca Couture in 2001.
Since then the label, which focuses on elegant daywear as well as cocktail and evening gowns, has grown from strength to strength, selling directly to clients or through the much anticipated â€śby invitation onlyâ€ť Tosca Couture Trunk shows are held at top-end department and exclusive specialty stores throughout the USA and Canada. The collection is also sold in Europe and the Middle East.
Stoned Cherrie now pretties up homes too
Designer brand Stoned Cherrie is set to become the next best thing for well-dressed homes, too, with the introduction of its homewear collection of curtains, cushions, couches and dining room suites that continues the labelâ€™s distinctive afro chic signature.
â€śSince launching quietly at Design Indaba in February this year we have had a phenomenal response from our regular customers as well as interior decorators and architects,â€ť says founder and creative director, Nkensani Nkosi.
KLĂ»K CGDT opens shop in Jozi
Joziâ€™s glamour girls can now get their KLĂ»K CGDT on their own doorstep with the opening of Malcolm KlĂ»k and Christiaan Gabriel du Toitâ€™s store this month.
â€śWe love Johannesburg and spend a lot of time here so it was time for a permanent home," says Malcolm.
LISOF, Soviet and Teen Zone launch â€śSassy and Sixteenâ€ť Competition
Top fashion school, LISOF, street style brand Soviet and Teen Zone magazine are looking for the next generation of fashionistas with a competition aimed at sixteen year old students from LISOFâ€™s top 100 feeder schools who are keen to pursue a career in fashion â€“ be it as designers, stylists or fashion photographers.
The collaboration is to launch a first of its kind competition whereby teams of 16 year olds will work with LISOFâ€™s second year students to produce garments for a series of fashion shoots that capture being â€śsassy and sixteenâ€ť as part of LISOFâ€™s annual commercial design project with a major fashion brand.
The finalist teams of sixteen year olds will style up 5FM DJâ€™s for photo shoots that will appear in Teen Zone magazine as well as at Soviet stores and the public will been able to vote for their favourite shoot. The winning team will be announced during SSAFW Winter Collections in September.
Anisa Mpungweâ€™s Project collection for Mr. Price rocks
SSAFW and Elleâ€™s 2008 New Talent winner, Anisa Mpungwe is going strong. According to Joanne Coelho, trend executive for Mr Price, the exclusive â€śProjectâ€ť collection Anisa developed as part of her mentorship with the value chain, â€śis selling like hot cakes - weâ€™re having difficulty supplying the demand.â€ť
Check out another happening SSAFW and Elleâ€™s 2008 New Talent finalist, Marize Malanâ€™s recent SSAFW Summer 09/10 collection in cult lifestyle magazine, One Small Seedâ€™s next issue.
Elle New Talent Search Now Open
Fashionistas, it is that time of year again where we start our search for the next big name in local fashion design. Design a womenswear collection of eight garments for Winter 2009/10 based on this yearâ€™s theme: One World. Think colour-clashing prints, ethnic accessories, fringing, braiding and beading. Take inspiration from India, Mexico, Japan and Africa in the form of animal print, patterns and vivid colour. Design a look thatâ€™s an energetic mix of influences from all over the globe in a modern, wearable form. Brief details and entry forms are available in the current issue of Elle magazine, or visit their website at www.elle.co.za.
Sanlam/DAC Fashion Fushion Project launches new designer collection
Sanlam SA Fashion Week and the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) Fashion Fusion project continues to grow from strength to strength with the recent launch of the stand-alone DAC/SODA Designer Collections which will see an additional nine designers come on board to create a range exclusively under the DAC/SODA label that will be shown exclusively at the SSAFW Exhibition.