Cape Town – Take two of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (#MBFWCT17) opened on Friday at the Salt River Studios in Cape Town, and the venue and designers did not disappoint.
It was a day that celebrated Africa’s multitude ways of interpreting fashion. The Intern by David Tlale opened the first day of fashion week. The Intern is a design competition that trained five designers under Tlale’s tutorship.
After the show on Friday, Ntando Ngwenya was announced the winner and Tlale’s new assistant designer for a year. “I don't know how to feel now that I won. I've never won anything in my life,” Ngwenya told ANA after the show. Day one continued with collections from (afro.mod.trends.) whose take on the 1920s was channelled at Africa and Great Gatsby-inspired.
The collection juxtaposed vintage elegance with traditional African prints. The theme of African Renaissance continued with Ituen Basi’s walk in the streets of Lagos.
Using strong structured palettes with hues of Nigerian accented fabric, the collection was a crowd pleaser. Mille Collines' Swahili inspired black girl magic collection included models wearing white, sheer, and sneakers. The everyday wear showed a culmination of cultures – African, Persian, and Arab influences – which where articulated with kanga wear and hand-woven hats.
“We become one” was the title of the collection, which by definition serves as an example of how “the world is coming together and how interpretations of culture are coming together today”.
Fashion Revolution, an ethical group fashion show from local designers, made their debut at the MBFWCT. White fabric Ts with writing made the audience stop for a moment to read the message that clothes where trying to speak to us.
“PLASTIC IS NOT TRASH” was evidently the most remembered, as it speaks directly to the social responsibility that waste can be recycled and reused. But for the designers it can used to create a piece of fashion.
African royalty, from Imprint ZA, stayed true to their ethos and left a mark with statements on the white Ts, including Change maker, Fast fashion = game over, Rise women rise, Awaken, Stop wanting, DOWNsize, UPgrade, I AM THE REVOLUTION, Unconscious, What's your footprint?, and Grey is the new black.
The show closed with a trip to Maputo with Taibo Bacar's Muthiana orera, meaning Made in Mozambique. The collection is 100 percent made in Mozambique by Mozambicans. This collection truly captured the theme of the night. The African Renaissance of young black African designers whose take on fashion successfully incorporates the engineering of high fashion but maintains the authentic wealth of African design, color, culture, identity, and complex character.
All of which was seen in Bacar’s presentation, which portrayed multiple scenes of black women – the driving force that carries the continent. African Fashion International (AFI) chairwoman Precious Moloi-Motsepe spoke to ANA about the 10th anniversary of AFI and what significant social and economic impact it has made on the continent. "Fashion is an eco-system and an art form that people enjoy,” she said.
AFI supports young designers and their businesses and continues to educate young aspiring designers about the fashion business through their fast-track graduate program, Moloi-Motsepe said.