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SA catwalks in the grey – the fashion trends that dominated the SAFW AW22 collections

The Bam collective incorporated elements of ultimate grey, which is the colour of 2021, into their collections. Picture from SAFW.

The Bam collective incorporated elements of ultimate grey, which is the colour of 2021, into their collections. Picture from SAFW.

Published Nov 6, 2021


Johannesburg - For the first time since the novel coronavirus erupted in March last year, South African Fashion Week (SAFW) was this week able to stage their Autumn/Winter 2022 (AW22) in front of a live audience.

Johannesburg played host to fashionistas, celebrities and invited guests who converged on the Mall of Africa in Midrand to get the first glimpse of local designers’ latest collections.

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During the three day spectacle, a variety of design elements, textures and tones took shape on the catwalk. Although some of the AW22 ranges were in line with those seen on international runways, many were uniquely African in nature, firmly placing the continent as an authentic fashion destination.

Other fashion trends were also aligned with the prospect of a post-Covid-19 world, while still maintaining the style and comfort that many grew accustomed to during the pandemic. These are some of the trends which have dominated the SAFW AW22 collections.

Ultimate Grey

This popular shade of grey was announced as the colour of 2021 and this was a prominent shade on the SAFW AW22 catwalk. Durban University of Technology fashion graduate Sipho Mbuto paired the neutral tone with a clean white fabric for his knee-length cape dress while The Bam Collective opted for a full matching blouse and trouser ultimate grey set.

Sipho Mbuto was playful with his use of the ultimate grey tone for his caped dress ensamble. Picture from SAFW.

Statement Headwear

While covering your head seems to be in vogue in the fashion world, this is an everyday practice for many South Africans because of religious, cultural or personal reasons. This was widely reflected in this season’s collection this week as models walked the catwalk donning a variety of head coverings and accessories. Acclaimed designers Erre Fashion’s entire collection features turbans to match their ensembles which included shades of cerise pink, mustard yellow and beige. Meanwhile, African Haute fashion label Maklele took a more casual approach with the inclusion of hoodies for their men and women’s looks.

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A striking cerise pink ensamble by Erre fashion house which featured turban-inspired headwear. Picture by SAFW.


Why wear one garment when you can put a collection together to not only shield you from the cold, but to also present an entire ensemble?

This was the school of thought at Balenciaga, Simone Rocha, Missoni who debuted collections which featured elements of layering different items together on runways around the world. South African designers this week gave it their own unique twists when their collections were presented.

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The likes of Xavier Sadan South Africa, Fikile Zamagcino, Artho Eksteen and Adam Chancellor-Maddison mixed different garments, fabrics, colours and textures together to present eye-catching layered looks.

A creative take on layering by Artho Eksteen. Picture from SAFW.


Blazers are a wardrobe staple which appears to be standing the test of time.The style basic is an essential for any season as it can effortlessly be incorporated into a variety of looks and can easily take an ensemble for casual and daytime to formal and into the nightlife.

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Johannesburg based fashion house Franc Elis paired fitted blazers for their women’s collection with matching pants and mid-length sets while The Bam Collective created a striking and elegant black blazer dress look.

An elegant black blazer dress by The Bam Collective. Picture from SAFW.


The Covid-19 pandemic might currently be subsiding across the globe as vaccination rollout increases but athleisure, which erupted in popularity during the global health crisis, is here to stay. The comfortable and sporty fashion trend was the general theme of Maklele’s collection as he added cropped and cut-out features to his ensemble. Michael Ludwig, a contemporary, non-binary and gender inclusive brand debuted a sky blue formal track pants set while Umsweko provided a modern and formal twist to men’s athlesuire wear.

A comfortable athleisure look by Michael Ludwig. Picture from SAFW.

The Saturday Star