Durban — The popular Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) got under way at the Durban ICC on Wednesday.
The eThekwini municipality said the DFF started on a high note with designers leaving the audience impressed with their creations.
The DFF is a highlight on the fashion calendar and this time, it was held under the theme ‘Shades of Liberation’ with shows taking place until Friday, September 22, at the same venue.
Economic development and planning committee chairperson councillor Thembo Ntuli said the consistent growth of this programme has had a positive impact on job creation, economic growth, and entrepreneurial sustainability.
“We were pleased to learn that over the past 12 months, the nine designers trading at various Edgars retail stores have made sales totalling over R1 million. This is a good story to tell, and we are happy to see their steady progress. Various buyers are at the DFF to scout new talent. This shows the impact the DFF has on the fashion industry and in boosting the local economy,” Ntuli said.
A new kid on the block, Sanele Paul Sibisi of Paul Kotin Designs, started this year's showcase.
Sibisi was part of the municipality’s Fashion Development Programme in 2021 and won the Rising Star Award during the DFF Recognition Awards.
Sibisi said after Wednesday night's showcase, he has already started receiving enquiries which he hopes will become orders.
“We are grateful for platforms like the DFF as they help to build our brands,” Sibisi said.
Sihle Dlezi of Yatsar Fashion House, who won the Best Collection of the Week at last year’s DFF Recognition Awards, wowed fashion lovers with her mustard colour-inspired collection.
She said the inspiration came from the Phoenix bird.
During a post-show interview, Dlezi said she was humbled by the standing ovation she received. She said she started getting orders immediately after the show.
“I am living my dream, and it’s all thanks to the Municipality for providing us with platforms to thrive,” Dlezi said.
After participating in the DFF last year, Dlezi was selected to supply Edgars stores through an existing public-private partnership between eThekwini Municipality and Edgars.
“I am proud that I am among the best-performing designers at the stores, especially in Sandton City and the Pavilion Shopping Centre. I have so many plans for the future,” Dlezi said.
Zama Gumede, founder of the Zaviar Fashion House label, also received a standing ovation after her show. She translated the theme ‘Shades of Liberation’ by designing her collection using green after being inspired by the green army uniform.
“I have run out of business cards as I gave them all out after the show. I also interacted with many buyers. I credit my success to the DFF Development Programme where I was mentored, and my creativity was allowed to thrive. This has helped to shape my career,” Gumede said.
The ‘Zulu Madame’ fashion label, which was founded in 2021 by Zodwa Msimang kaNsibande, also showcased stunning pieces with Zulu-inspired prints.
Also showcasing on the first day of the DFF were Ulolisa, Vallure Designs, UP Phelele, Precious Lulu Couture, Jigga, Ntsasa Fashion House, Victoria Fashion Kingdom, Kireshen Chetty, Zamaswazi, Palse, Vyagor Louvre, Silomo’s Boutique and Lemfvx.
Beyond the fashion shows, there are about 15 stalls exhibiting the designs and products of local designers’ products, which encourages attendees to buy and support local.
This year’s DFF is sponsored by NIVEA, Edgars, Foschini, MAC Cosmetics, and Perfect Choice.
Tickets are available at Pick n Pay and Boxer outlets and at www.webtickets.co.za. They are also available at the door at the Durban ICC for R120.
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