THE Durban fashion scene is often overlooked and doesn’t receive as much fanfare and shine as Joburg’s or Cape Town’s. The latter two are home to most of South Africa’s known creatives, fashion weeks and fashion lovers who have a major social media footprint and following. Not saying that the city of Durban does not have its own creatives and fashionistas; however, most are somehow flying under the radar. There are a number of eThekwini-born fashion faces and influencers such as models, designers, photographers, fashion writers and experts making major moves in the industry that you need to know some of whom you might know already. For now, let’s focus on the designers and models. I recently attended the annual Durban Fashion Fair. This is the city’s biggest fashion platform that attracts the most industry attention.
Supported by the eThekwini Municipality and held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), this platform offers impressive opportunities for emerging talents of young designers and models.
It also does wonders in promoting established designers and offers mentorship programmes and awards such as the Durban Designer mentees programme and the New Face of the Year, which has launched many modelling careers.
The theme for this year was “Dawn of the Arts,” which was about the reawakening of the creative industry and realisation of the arts as a lucrative business opportunity. We gathered at the ICC for four days and watched 40 designers (including specially invited creatives from the African continent) showcase their latest collections. Here are some of my top designer picks you should know.
1. Indoni Fashion House: The fashion house does prints and flattering shapes best. These African Prints never go out of style. This dress is perfect for summer.
2. Martin Steenkamp: Steenkamp’s futuristic and androgynous designs are for the brave man. Millennial pink is the hottest colour of the season.
3. House of Alfalfa: With his collection, self-taught designer Sandile Mlambo’s was celebrating a decade in the industry, an impressive milestone in the competitive and saturated market. Mlambo has showcased in platforms such as London Fashion Week Africa and South Africa Week in Milan.
4. Diva by Brenda Quin : Quin has a unique eye for bright clashing prints and patterns that you wouldn’t usually pair together. Her dresses include feminine 50s and modern silhouette dresses.
5. House of Saint Luke: Young designer Mxolisi Luke Mkhize has come far in his career for his age and has showcased and featured in some of SA’s top fashion weeks and magazines. He has also styled some of our household entertainers and celebs such as the likes of Nomzamo Mbatha.
Pictures by Simon Deiner/SDR Photo
6. Zarth: Zarth by Zama Mathe is currently the most recognised Durban-based power fashion house. The Zarth high-end dresses and wedding gowns are a regular feature on our red carpet events
* See more from the designers here: http://www.durbanfashionfair.com/