CAPE TOWN FASHION WEEK 2023
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: 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):
KAT VAN DUINEN
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.
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.
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!
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 …
HOUSE OF NALA
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.