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From the runway to retail

The annual SA Fashion week is on until Saturday at Johannesburg’s Hyde Park Corner shopping centre, writes Nontando Mposo

The 19th instalment of SA Fashion Week (SAFW) is under way in Johannesburg, where local designers are showcasing their Autumn/Winter 2017 collections alongside trade shows and pop-up events throughout the week.

A model's hair is given a finishing touch backstage at the start of SA Fashion Week in Joburg.This all-black collection by LUMIN took first prize in the Sunglass Hut SA New Talent 2016 Show at the start of SA Fashion Week in Joburg.Influencers Lethabo 'Boogy' Maboi, Bee Diamondhead, Sharon Becker, Papama Ramogase, Tshepi Vundla and Trevor Stuurman, wear selected pieces from the Woolworths collection. 	Picture: Paul SamuelsA model walks down the runway in a design by Sheila-Madge Bakker during the Sunglass Hut SA New Talent 2016 Show.

The affair, at the Hyde Park Corner shopping centre, has been drawing fashion influencers such as style and fashion bloggers, the media and buyers, as well as the who's who in fashion and entertainment circles.

It is the country’s only fashion and business to business development and marketing platform that offers designers an opportunity to take their businesses from the runway to retail.

Festivities started at the Marble restaurant in Rosebank on Tuesday, where VIP guests gathered for the launch of Woolworths’ SAFW Designer Capsule Collection celebrating local designers.

Woolworths has officially joined forces with SAFW as the exclusive retail sponsor, taking over from Edgars.

Their SAFW x StyleBySA campaign features the new faces of the retailer’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection, in shots styled and art directed by the six influencers.

Stylists by profession, they are Sharon Becker, Lethabo “Boogy” Maboi, Trevor Stuurman, Bee Diamondhead, Tshepi Vundla and Papama Ramogase, who will be working with local photographers and creative teams to realise their visions.

“Our partnership with SAFW is a real opportunity to support local fashion entrepreneurs,” says Woolworths’ group director of marketing and sustainability, Charmaine Huet.

“We recognise the wealth of talent in the industry and want to celebrate South African fashion’s unique point of view.

"Customers can expect the very best in style that truly reflects South African creativity.

"We aim to inspire and promote local fashion through access to production and market exposure.

"As a passionately South African retailer, the partnership with SAFW is ‘a seamless fit’," says Huet.

Launching in autumn/winter 2017, the SAFW designer capsule collections will be available online and through select Woolworths stores.

“Our involvement with SAFW and the launch of StyleBySA means we are able to boost much-needed growth in the industry and catalyse change through empowering our designers and their communities through the value chain,” says Thateng Shimange, general manager of Womensworld at Woolworths.

“We are committed to collaborating with home-grown talent across the industry, from designers to stylists, photographers, bloggers and models. Practically, this means investing in and working with design trailblazers to grow their business, boost their visibility and give them access to a bigger market”, Shimange says.

Personalities at the event included Boity Thulo, Minnie Dlamini, Masego “Maps” Maponyane and Siya Beyile, who spent the afternoon sipping on champagne and indulging in gourmet canapés.

Show highlights for the first day included the Sunglass Hut SA New Talent 2016 Show which saw designers Aya Velase, ODON, Mieke Vermeulen, Nu|base, Sheila-Madge Bakker, Lavinia, HerRitual, Amy Liu and James Barrett-Poulsen of LUMIN Clothing competing for the coveted prize.

It includes representation by The Fashion Agent for a year, a show collection at SAFW Spring/Summer 2017, access to SAFW Fashion Trade Event and Pop-Up shop and a trip to London Fashion Week.

LUMIN won with their all-black collection with sheer inserts. The easy-to-wear urban brand prides itself on their monochromatic and minimalist design aesthetic.

Among my favourites for the night was the athleisure collection by Mieke Vermeulen, titled “Neo Africana”.

The fabric prints are influenced by illustrator Nina Tarr and the art of Pierneef, and the colourful collection was beautifully styled in bold embroidery, with accessories and head wraps.

Established last year, the brand’s design aesthetic is “rustic minimalism".

SA Fashion Week continues until Saturday.

For the designer line-up and information about shows, see www.safashionweek.co.za.

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