After a lively launch to South African African Week sparked by a return to in-person shows and a fresh group of young designers who participated in the first Fashion Bridges program, day two of the event delivered elegant and occasion-driven dressing. Think bold-colored floor-sweeping garments as showcased at Erre and flouncy frocks decorated with joyful floral prints that were offered at Sober.
On 29 October, my second day to the shows, I wore a black poncho and white linen pants from Cape Town-based South African fashion label Craig Port, a white t-shirt by local brand Jock, and open back loafers from Europa Art. The key to my personal style is always comfort. My outfit was inspired by the weather in Johannesburg which can abruptly change from rainy, sunny, to chilly all in one afternoon which was the case on this particular day.
Mpumelelo Dhlamini who founded womenswear label Ezokhetho celebrated the “different strengths of women” with a powerful collection of multi-color dresses with clashing patterns and stripes and a new animated print that appeared on a colorful sleeveless frock with a ruched hemline. Titled Imbokodo, meaning rock in the South African traditional language of isiZulu which is a reference to the courage and strength of Black South African women, Dlamini’s ode to femininity extended to berets, paying homage to women who wear them as part of their church attire.
After debuting at Milan Fashion Week SS22 in September, founder and creative director of Franc Elis, Fabrice Moyo pursued a workwear wardrobe that combined a hint of evening and outing dresses. One of the collection’s most interesting looks was a two-piece suit consisting of a cropped jacket and a skirt with all-around revealing slits. After presenting an all-menswear collection for SS22, Moyo dedicated his latest showcase to ladieswear.
At womenswear label Mantsho, founder and designer Palesa Mokubung developed her inspiration from isicholo, a traditional hairstyle from the 19th century that has evolved into a hat worn by Zulu women to signify their marital status. “It’s a part of our culture but it’s also a symbol of how innovative we are as Black people,” Mokubung told me after her show. Dressed in grand elongated dresses with layers of frills and decorative distinctive graphic prints, she accessorized her army of women with oversized but minimal jewelry in architectural shapes in collaboration with E.G Jewelry.
That’s it for Day 2 of SA Fashion Week. Stay tuned for highlights from Day 3 which was focused on menswear.