ON STYLE: Panellist Siya Beyile, founder of online platform for men’s fashion and lifestyle The Threaded Man, will be sharing industry insights on Tuesday at the Wear SA Fashioning the Future workshop.
STREET SMART: Luxury street style brand Magents will showcase at the Wear SA gala dinner on Tuesday. Supplied pic.

The annual Wear SA Fashion Festival opens on March 20 at the VOC Room, Cape Sun Hotel, with its annual free hosting of the Wear SA Fashioning the Future workshop. In collaboration with the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) and its broad programme of youth skills development, this year’s theme is “Designing Tomorrow’s Fashionpreneurs”.

The fashion industry is one of the most coveted. So, why do so few South African fashion students break into or innovate a sustainable career in the apparel business?

The global industry is worth $3trillion (R35 trillion), yet sub-Saharan Africa accounts for less than 1% of this, a staggering statistic considering the apparel and textile industry can create numerous income opportunities. Even President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned the sector and its potential in his State of the Nation address.

South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world, and, as everyone needs to be clothed, it represents a golden opportunity for not only designers, but pattern cutters, textile developers, trim specialists, embroiderers, merchandisers, writers and so many more, to put their best fashion foot forward.

What once was a thriving contributor to our economy is poised again to make a cutting comeback - modern, sleek, and more professional, better able to endure and evolve.

“But first we need to arm the next wave of ‘fashionpreneurs’ with the knowledge and skills to make it, not only in the competitive fashion world, but in business,” says Wayne van der Rheede, spokesperson for Wear SA.

“The 2018 Wear SA Fashioning the Future Workshop will seek to kick-start this process by presenting a panel discussion and mentoring forum for fashion college students and budding fashionpreneurs. We hope to bridge this gap as soon as possible and we look forward to welcoming everyone for an insightful morning.”

The workshop will tackle ‘New Millennium’ territory and fashion philosophy around the business of fashion and why fashion landmines destroy potential, talent and success.

Industry experts and iconic fashionpreneurs will anchor the panel, providing first-hand insight, advice and opinions into why there is such tremendous designer talent in South Africa, but few go on to develop long-term profitable businesses.

Panellists will include:

Herman Pillay - managing director of TCI Apparel.

Tamsyn Johannisen - designer of the brands Democracy of Denim and Wear SA.

Annette de Wet - founder and editor of online magazine Magenta.

Siya Beyile - founder of online platform for men’s fashion and lifestyle brand The Threaded Man

Bokang Lehabe - director and head designer at Bookha Creations.

* The jazz festivities include a sold-out Wear SA gala dinner on March22. With the theme being “Sophiatown”, guests are encouraged to wear proudly SA clothing in vintage designs and classic fits and cuts.

There are prizes for best-dressed man and woman. 

Visit http://www.capetownjazzfest.com/ for more information.