Models vie for chance to walk down catwalk

By Nontando Mposo Time of article published Jan 20, 2016

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 Cape Town - Africa’s best menswear designers are gearing up to present their Autumn/Winter collections at the third instalment of the South African Menswear Week (SAMW) next month.


As the only menswear-focused fashion platform in Africa, the biannual affair, at Cape Town Stadium from February 3 to 6, is attended by industry experts, buyers and fashion lovers who spend the days enjoying catwalk shows by the 35 designers, networking and trends analyst talks.

We attended the open models casting call at the Cape Town Fashion Council to get an idea of how the models are selected.

Represented by the city’s biggest agencies, such as Boss Models, 20 Management Model, D&A Model Management and Topco Models, aspiring and veteran models from across the world auditioned, sporting a variety of interesting looks from bearded to clean-shaven.

The selection panel of industry experts: fashion producer Deon Redman, founder of Group of Creatives (GRP/cr8/) Jen Deiner, fashion stylist Melanie Rossline and GRP/cr8/ Seth O’De was determined to get the best.

Under the eye of catwalk veteran Jimi Owobo Ogunlaja, of the Jimisterio Catwalk Academy, the models strutted their stuff for the chance to be selected on looks, walk and height, among other things.

Deiner said: “The current model trend is the clean look and chiselled features, but we do have designers who prefer the tattooed models because it works for their brand aesthetic.

“The model pool we select has to work for all the designers because each one has different preferences… Also, diversity is important to us.

“We are seeing a lot of new faces from not only around the continent but from around the world, which is great because we like to push that. Apart from promoting up-and-coming designers, we promote new model talent.”

Deiner’s industry experience is impressive because she has produced a number of quality local and international shows, including London Fashion Week.

Organising an event of this magnitude is a mammoth task which requires a lot of preparation and research.

“Yes, it’s a platform for fashion, but it’s also a business. It has taken us many years of research and a look at fashion weeks around the world, the business side of designers and just knowing the market,” Deiner said.

“We can’t take away the fact that it is an African event, but we pride ourselves on the fact that the event is on par with world-class events and that is amazing. From the designers’ side at the event, expect to see next-level local designers and designers from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and more.”

Ryan Beswick, who founded the event with photographer Simon Deiner, of SDR Photo, said the curation process for designers to be considered for the event was a strict operation.

He said the designers underwent a checklist ranging from design signature to ability to produce. There was a flood of applications and 35 were chosen.

Event highlights will include the country’s design stars, such as Lukhanyo Mdingi, OATH by Rich Mnisi, Jenevieve Lyons Chulaap by Chu Suwannapha and MaXhosa’s Laduma Ngxokolo.

Established designers and labels, such as Craig Port, CSquared, Paledi Segapo and Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs will be scheduled alongside emerging talents Mzukisi Mbane, Augustine and new talent designers Siviwe James and Neo Serati.

Continental designers include Orange Culture, Tokyo James and Mai Atafo, from Nigeria, who will showcase with designers from Angola, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Beswick said: “It’s really about putting the best menswear on one schedule over the four days, providing the world and media with access to the talent.”

The week includes world-class catwalk shows, presentations, talks by renowned trends analyst Nicola Cooper, and functions including the screening of fashion and culture documentaries and an opening event.

l For the programme, visit Shows from the SAMW AW16 collections will be live-streamed online, presented by SDRlive. Tickets are available on WebTickets ( for selected shows.

Nontando Mposo, Cape Argus

Pictures: SDR Photo and Bheki Radebe, Independent Media

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