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Slow Fashion on Southern Shores: CTFW saw Joyous Creations, Crafted for Celebrating Life in a City where there’s always a Reason to Dress Up and Shine.



Image Credit Kat Van Duinen on Instagram
A symphony in pastel tulle


Image Credit: AFI, Cape Town Fashion Week, Cape Town Fashion Week on Instagram and Facebook, Participating Designers on Instagram and Facebook, @afi_sa


Cape Town Fashion Week, a precious gem in the crown of the prestigious African Fashion International (AFI), triumphed once again in the Mother City after a two-year covid-induced hiatus to present the 15th edition of this hugely anticipated, uber-glam and super luxe event.

AFI has always sought to elevate local talent (previous Fastrack winners include the likes of global superstar designers Rich Mnisi and Thebe Magugu) as well as to connect African fashion to global markets. The event exceeded all expectations yet again by showcasing the work of not only the established designers, but also by giving a platform to a highly curated and hand-picked selection of up-and-coming creatives.

For a week in March Cape Town – a stylish city already filled all year round with superstar models, celebrities, glamorous advertising agencies and a booming film industry, was electric with all things ultra-fashionable. Top design talent from all over Africa presented their collections live, with buyers able to (for the first time ever at this event) ‘shop the runway’ afterwards.

Another added element came in the form of exhibits of exquisite art and design. Live music was part of the event too: South Africa’s most coveted musicians like DJ Zinhle, Young Stunna and the Scorpion Kings provided the soundtrack to this multi-faceted event.

As for trends, the overriding one has to be the sheer joy exhibited in designers creating pieces for living in all year-round bright sunshine! Designers showcased an uninhibited colour palette, with brightness and bold patterning adorning surface materials, and silhouettes celebrated all body shapes and ages. Glamourous resort-like pieces were abundant – a clear sign that the African climate and laid-back ethos of the continent invite wearers to be super comfortable in their skins. Sexy strappy dresses, flattering wrap dresses, boho kaftans and exotic kimonos were seen in many a collection. As for fabrics – think the full spectrum, from frivolous feathers, transparent tulle, luxe silk chiffon and crisp organza to wholesome cotton, sustainable hemp, woven and knitted wool and local & sustainable leather/pleather.

We’ve made a little selection of the standout collections (tough choices!) and our favourite pieces. We leave you with a few snapshots of street style, ‘behind-the-scenes’ and ‘on the runway’ clips. Sit back, relax and imagine yourself on a beach in exotic Cape Town …

A Video Introduction to African Fashion Internationa (AFI):

Image Credit Love Cape Town
Cape Town hosted AFI Cape Town Fashion Week



Capetonian and celebrated local designer Kat Van Duinen established her now iconic label in 2010 as a high-end fashion and leather design house, her handwriting the high quality fabrics, meticulous tailoring and sustainable leather details she utilises – and of course the fun, vivid African vibe she emboldens each piece with. Unmistakably luxurious and glamorous, this brand effortlessly combines quintessential Cape Town boho beach bar style with a wider African design ethos.


In the pink. At Kat Van Duinen

A frilly pink catsuit. At Kat Van Duinen

Fabulous feathers. At Kat Van Duinen

A slinky red dress gets the quadruple belt treatment. At Kat Van Duinen

Glamorous tulle and lace. At Kat Van Duinen

Exaggerated gold sleeves on a cropped top. At Kat Van Duinen

Rock star chic. At Kat Van Duinen



This Afro-futuristic brand uses their African heritage as vantage point and inspiration to celebrate the joy of living and dressing. Glamorous, original, vibrant and bold, the signature look of this brand can only be described in one word: unforgettable! Stunning textiles, vibrant prints, brave colour combinations and extraordinary silhouettes make for a collection – season after season – that simply sizzles … and wows.


Bold prints, smart colours. At Imprint ZA

Printed piping on this transparent frock. At Imprint ZA

Shocking pink is grounded by turquoise platforms. At Imprint ZA

A graphic bodysuit. At Imprint ZA

A symphony of monochromatic frills and tiers. At Imprint ZA

A feathered fringe finish off this boldly printed dress. At Imprint ZA

Prints please! At Imprint ZA

An intarsia-knit sweater and matching skirt. At Imprint ZA



A Johannesburg-based (Soweto) brand, emblazoned with the energy of the gold-rush city, descended on Cape Town for Fashion Week to enchant with their pieces that boast modern sophistication, futuristic design and super flattering silhouettes. Hand-crafted textiles, beading, feathers, fringing and frills make for a predominantly noir collection for 2023 that is effortlessly easy to wear, and we give them 10/10 for making a statement!


Wonderfully tactile pieces. At Scalo

A bottle green phoenix rising! At Scalo

Pearl beading embellish this canary yellow silk frock. At Scalo

Sensational and dramatic! At Scalo

A touch of the African heritage in the stunning beading patterns. At Scalo



Using striking fabrics to create garments that are stylish as they are comfortable, Alia Bare’s unique designs resonate with the confident woman who dares to be different. This season’s stripy silk creations with their generous, kimono sleeves are beyond flattering … think sunset cocktails on golden beaches …


Stripy silk will take one anywhere. At Alia Bare

Asymmetric indigo stripes are super flattering. At Alia Bare

This cobalt blue creation oozes sophistication. At Alia Bare

A capsule resort collection. At Alia Bare



AFI’s in-house brand House of Nala is famous for their luxe and lavish offerings of elegant clothes for men and women for all life’s events, from casual everyday wear to glamorous and daring pieces for evening – all with a quintessential and unmistakable African influence. This season’s bold red shapes, embellished with pearls and faux fur, make quite the statement. Sizzling hot, we’d say!


Sizzling hot creations. At House of Nala

A boxy red dress reminiscent of the 60s. At House of Nala

Faux fur and fine hounds tooth check. At House of Nala

Luxe boucle in tomato red. At House of Nala



Strikingly sculptural silhouettes, bold colours and tactile surface design are what the Malondie label has become known for. Malondie is an award-winning brand that has, since its inception in 2015, been pushing the boundaries of everyday wear, always creating charming pieces that speak of quality and sophistication. We adore the logo-ed, denim range with its embroidered calligraphy.


Double denim has never looked this good. At Malondie

The Malondie signature is everywhere! At Malondie

Shapely and sculptural. At Malondie

Bold and embellished. At Malondie

Quilted silver ensembles. At Malondie

An angel’s wing! At Malondie



An institution in Cape Town, with women flocking from all over the world to lay their hands on a Hugo Flear floral-printed linen frock! This timeless and ageless brand has always taken inspiration from South African culture and its natural fauna and flora. With its vivid and unique digitally printed graphics and exquisite craftsmanship, Hugo Flear wowed again on the Cape Town Fashion Week runways.


Beautiful digital floral prints and smart colour combinations. At Hugo Flear

Cape flora embellish these frocks. At Hugo Flear

Botanical prints on this sage green dress. At Hugo Flear

It’s a symphony of flower power! At Hugo Flear

A red statement coat-dress with a delightful floral border. At Hugo Flear



With their unmistakable graphic patterns, Urban Zulu has carved out a niche for themselves in South Africa and beyond. Their ready-to-wear as well as bespoke ranges have a wonderfully organic feel about them, the silhouettes are striking and the surface patterning unique. We absolutely adore the monochromatic look and functional ease of this collection. Trouble is, how does one decide on just one or two pieces?


Statement sleeves on this monochromatic dress. At Urban Zulu

A capsule collection like few others. At Urban Zulu



Closer to works of art than fashion, this slow fashion brand creates one-off pieces in sustainable materials such as vintage sarees and other remnant fabrics. The end-products are exquisite, exclusive and unique, with one eye on our environment and the other on crating beautiful fashion. This is the way forward for fashion and our planet.


Recycled, one-off pieces made with care. At Laaniraani

A vintage feel to this exquisite dress. At Laaniraani

Mix and match! At Laaniraani

It’s all about the sleeves! At Laaniraani



Known for their magical prints and patterns, Masa Mara creates pieces that effortlessly marry cultural dress with contemporary fashion. Tactile and bold, these are pieces that celebrate the joy of living, working and playing.


Bold red printed fabric became a very striking blazer. At Masa Mara

It’s all about the print, weave and colour. At Masa Mara

A boldly crafted, tactile necklace. At Masa Mara

Tartan? Almost, but African style! At Masa Mara


PS: We’ll leave you with a few Last Impressions from Behind the Scenes and the Runway at Cape Town Fashion Week …

The Future for African Fashion is Bright!

Goodbye from Cape Town Fashion Week.


Cecile Paul

Author at Pynck

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