The audience listen to the chief executive of AFI Precious Motsepe at the launch of the Mercedes Benz fashion week at the Wits Art museum. 180213. Picture: Chris Collingridge 040

Johannesburg - A modern and aspirational capital of art, fashion and design.

This is how Africa Fashion International (AFI) describes the Newtown precinct – home to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week next month.

The fashion week launch took place at the Wits Art Museum in Braamfontein on Monday.

The focus this year is on the business of fashion.

AFI executive chairwoman Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe said they had launched two initiatives – Fast Track and Next Generation – which aim to provide up-and-coming designers with business opportunities.

At the launch, three new designers displayed their garments. They were all part of the Fast Track programme in which professional designers such as David Tlale and Thula Sindi actedas mentors.

Wetive Nkosi, 25, was mentored by top designer Spero Villioti. \

Nkosi has a master’s degree in industrial sociology but has followed her passion for fashion.

“It was an interesting time for me (the mentoring programme) but it was a bit of a challenge to be mentored by Spero. He is amazing. I really enjoyed the process and he has shown me how to think out of the box,” she said.

Tlale, who mentored designer Kgothatso Tsotetsi, said the programme was a great idea.

“When I started out, no one was available to help me. Being able to impart the things I have learnt is great,” Tlale said.

He said the programme included showing the designers how to pick designs and fabric selection.

Nkosi and Masike will showcase their designs alongside their mentors at Fashion Week between March 7 and 9 at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown. - The Star