African designers are big on sustainable fashion with their exhibition at Sandton City’s Diamond Walk.
The Sustainable fashion re-imagined exhibition, which started in March and will run until April 18, sees brands like Nicci, Lush, Shoetopia, Sunglass Hut, Poetry, Roberto Botticelli, Factorie, Skins Cosmetics, Daniel Wellington, Krispy Kreme, Woolworths, Grand Prix and Lindt chocolatiers, have their branded paper shopping bags exquisitely crafted into bespoke sustainable designs by Franz Grabe.
That’s not all. Five designers, including Gert-Johan Coetzee, Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs, Hangwani Nengovhela from Rubicon, Lezanne Viviers from Viviers Studio and Lara Klawikowski, also have their show-stopping designs on display.
Craig Jacobs, who has been in the business of fashion since 2004, has used sustainable fabrics in most of his designs. For this exhibition, he went through his archives and came up with three different designs made of cashmere and hemp.
On what sustainability means to him, Jacobs said: “Sustainability is all about being conscious of what you’re wearing. It means that the fabrics and the construction are not harmful to the environment.
“Young designers should not wreck their brains trying to find sustainable fabrics. But what they should rather think about is a sustainable process. Look at what the problem is and find a sustainable solution.”
Nengovhela, of Rubicon, exhibited the “Nature Meets Fashion Sustainability” collection.
About the inspiration behind the collection, she said: “The capsule collection is inspired by the Mapungubwe Nature Conservation Park, which is a majestic world heritage site. It is rich with sand dunes that shape and form a mythological history of origin.
“The muse is the re-imagination of queen Mapungubwe. I used biodegradable natural fibres to create an art form that is expressed on the garments.”
Lara Klawikowski, the winner of the Innovative Design and Materials Award, as well as the coveted Changemaker Award at the TWYG X Country Road Sustainable Fashion Awards 2020, showcased a dress made from recycled plastic. The dress is part of her Spring/Summer 20 “Strange Flowers” collection.
From the “Kraal Couture” 2020 comes Coetzee’s sustainable cotton jacket with tulle sleeves.
“Sustainable fashion reaches far beyond using only recyclable fabrics. Manufacturing through local crafters to support our economy is just as important, and forms part of the movement to sustainable fashion around the globe,” Coetzee said.
Viviers, of Viviers Studio, presented a plastic coat made of re-purposed and sterilised medicinal, electronic and U-Cook home waste. It also has newspaper headlines, laminated, to send out positive messages.
Speaking of sustainability, she said: “We pride ourselves in sustainable practice. We aim to minimise textile waste by individually hand-cutting our garments, re-using off-cut fabrics to innovate new editions.”
Jonathan Sinden, chief operations officer at Liberty Two Degrees said that after a successful exhibition for the last three years, it was important for Sandton City to continue being the pioneer of sustainable fashion.
“This year, Sandton City was inspired to highlight sustainability and sustainable fashion. As is the case globally, there is an escalating trend for consumers to reduce their environmental footprint and become more environmentally friendly.
“The shopping centre is extremely proud to have contributed significantly to this movement and this conceptually fashionable exhibition is a celebration of our continued commitment to sustainability,” he said.
He said after the exhibition, designers will either archive their garments or sell them and the Peroni designs will be used in future activations. The garments created from the paper shopping bags, provided by various tenants in Sandton City, will be recycled as they are 100% recyclable.