SA Fashion Week and Woolworths, now its main sponsor, intend to fast-track fashion from the runway to the rails.
Launching in autumn/winter 2017, SAFW designer capsule collections will be made available online and through select Woolies stores.
“We recognise the wealth of talent in the industry and want to celebrate South African fashion’s unique point of view,” said Woolworths’s marketing director Charmaine Huet in a statement. “Customers can expect the very best in style that truly reflects South African creativity.”
SAFW founder Lucilla Booyzen said: “We look forward to an inspiring partnership and to seeing the results in the form of affordable merchandise in stores. This is both a creative and commercial incubator to advance local design into the mainstream retail space.”
Woolworths also unveiled the faces of its StyleBySA spring/summer 2016 fashion campaign featuring local influencers in shots entirely styled and art directed by them.
All stylists, Sharon Becker, Lethabo “Boogy” Maboi, Trevor Stuurman, Bee Diamondhead, Tshepi Vundla and Papama will work with local photographers and creative teams to realise their visions.
In an SAFW x StyleBySA fashion shoot by Joburg-based photographer Paul Samuels, stylists have paired Woolies fashion brands with pieces from the newest A/W17 collections by SAFW designers Somerset Jane, LUMIN, Vintage Zionist and Tailor Me.
Woolworths says it has long supported local design, as evidenced in the original South African Designers at Woolworths collections by Maya Prass, Stoned Cherrie, Craig Native and Stephen Quatember from 2002 to 2009.
Thateng Shimange, head of womens wear at Woolworths, said: “We are committed to collaborating with homegrown talent across the industry.
“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,” said Shimange.