Fashion week is one of the busiest and most exciting times for me as a fashion journalist and celebrity stylist. Apart from reviewing the collections, interviewing designers and identifying potential looks for my celebrity clients, a big part of my job also involves socializing and networking. This AW’22 season of South African Fashion Week—which was held in Johannesburg from 28 to 30 October—marked a return to physical shows since the start of the pandemic in 2020. The biannual event came back with a big bang, led by the country’s youthful and emerging creatives. Between casual and loungewear-inspired clothing, fashion designers also explored a post-pandemic wardrobe of glamorous, sultry, playful, and even experimental looks. But before we go deep into the details and highlights, here’s a quick look at my outfit for day 1.  

Innocent Ndlovu at SAFW AW22
Innocent Ndlovu at SAFW AW22
Innocent Ndlovu at SAFW AW22
Innocent Ndlovu at SAFW AW22

My personal style is usually made up of cropped pants, extremely baggy clothing, and boxy silhouettes but for this season, I decided on slim-fit outfits for a change. On Thursday 28 October, I wore a green workwear jacket by South African fashion label Amanda Laird Cherry, cropped blue jeans from Zara, and Vans checkered slip-on shoes. I wanted to keep it casual but still sharp. 


The first day saw a new wave of design talent present their collections as part of Fashion Bridges – I Ponti Della Moda, an initiative aimed to promote cultural exchange and emerging design talent between South Africa and Italy. Through the program, South African rising designers Fikile Sokhulu, Bam Jacques, Sipho Mbuto,andMichael Peter Reid were each paired with young Italian designers Ilaria Bellomo, Julian Cerro, Alessia Dovero, and Domenico Orefice respectively, to produce capsule collections. At their installation, which officially kicked off the fashion week festivities, the mood was “go big or go home”. There were deconstructed garments and voluminous proportions, sculptural shapes, and a strong sense of craftsmanship and fabric manipulation, a technique that was felt across all four collections.

Jacques Bam and Julian Cerro at their AW22 installation
Michael Peter Reid of Xavier Sadan at his AW22
Michael Peter Reid of Xavier Sadan at his AW22 installation Ph by Innocent Ndlovu
Sipho Mbuto and Alessia Dovero capsule collection
Sipho Mbuto and Alessia Dovero capsule collection Ph by Innocent Ndlovu

At Thabo Kopele, a clean aesthetic echoed a minimalist style of dressing with a collection dominated by white garments of modern-tailored and straightforward unisex looks. Elsewhere at Amanda Laird Cherry, designed by Brendan Sturrock, sculptural headwear, layered work suits, and patchwork dresses were a meaningful reminder of why the decades-old brand is still cherished and relevant. 

Thabo Kopelo AW22 1
Thabo Kopelo AW22

Maklele by Mikhayla Farouk was all about evoking a lively and energetic aesthetic. Her sportswear-inspired range included revealing lime green tops with eyelet details, mesh pants, and cuffed cargo-style slacks that were paired with cheerful, bubble gum-colored crop tops.

Maklele AW22
Maklele AW22

Stay tuned for highlights from Day 2 and 3. 

All SAFW collections and designer images from Day 1 are by Eunice Driver and courtesy of South African Fashion Week.