SA Fashion Week AW24 kicked off on a high note

Michael Ludwig designs.

Michael Ludwig designs.

Published Oct 20, 2023


The fashion season is in full swing, and for the past 26 years, South African Fashion Week has been giving talented designers a platform to showcase their creativity.

Towards the end of last week, the Mzansi fashion community experienced SA Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 24 collections, where the most talented designers showcased their recent work.

As per tradition, SA Fashion Week kicked off on October 18 with an exclusive Cruz Vodka opening party, to which only celebrities, the media and the big shots in the local fashion and entertainment industry were invited.

Hosted at the prestigious Aurum Restaurant in Sandton, the event celebrated Cruz’s long-standing commitment to the South African fashion industry.

“This event is a testament to our dedication to the South African fashion industry, and we are delighted to continue our support by bringing together the biggest names in fashion, music, and entertainment.

“The event exemplifies the synergy between the fashion world and the entertainment industry, making it a must-attend event on the South African social calendar.

“As the fashion extravaganza continues throughout the week, fashion enthusiasts and industry insiders can expect more groundbreaking designs, extraordinary talent, and star-studded moments,” said Maisha Mamabolo, Cruz brand manager.

On Thursday night, the business of exhibiting fashion began when designers took to the runway to show us what’s in for the next season.

The Cruz Collective officially opened SA Fashion Week AW24 with Michael Ludwig Studio being the first to take to the runway.

Ludwig showcased a sustainable collection of elegant looks for a classic woman. The bright hues of pink, blue and orange took centre stage but what stood out for us were the asymmetrical designs on the suits and skirts and the dramatic earrings made from off-cut fabrics.

Michael Ludwig Studio.

Ephymol followed with an all-black menswear collection, while Fikile Sokhulu closed the show on day one with a stunning collection titled, “Library”.

Ephymol AW24.

Sokhulu used red suiting, cream suiting, twirl, printed linen and cotton fabrics for this collection.

“The whole collection was inspired by the notion of finding a silent space. I thought of the library, a very traditional, quiet place.

“After that, I looked into traditional silhouettes like your suits, which are very smart, structured and formal, like the library. The colour palette is something that’s very quiet, resembling the library.

“Everything is muted in silhouettes, it’s very straight, simple and minimal,” she said.

Fikile Sokhulu AW24.

For the second show, Oyama Conintebe brought the people closer to her roots by paying homage to Xhosa culture in a modern way.

Titled “Iziduko Zakwantu”, Conintebe’s collection was about telling the story of the Xhosa heritage and inspiring people not to reserve their traditional attire for certain ceremonies but to make it everyday wear.

Oyama Conintebe AW24.

“It’s heritage made in a modern way, that’s where you see the beige and the blue. It also focuses on sustainability, where I take off-cuts to create something new.

“For this collection, I collaborated with a local artist from the community, who helped me with the beaded detailing on the suits. #

“That beading is usually from umbhaco (Xhosa traditional attire), so that’s where the inspiration comes from. We modernised it because we wanted people to have that Xhosa heritage as part of their everyday life,” said Conintebe.

The Bam Collective followed with a collection titled “Extraterrestrialism”, which was first shown in Milan.

“It was inspired by what I would imagine how the Bam universe would look like. I was imagining that there was a planet somewhere, and with my clients living together on that planet, what would they be wearing?

“And because we first showed the collection in Milan, I was inspired by the fact that I was a foreigner going to a different world. So, I wanted my collection to be inspired by that and celebrate what we do best.

“Our famous motifs, two-tone prints, polka dots and the curvy are what we do every season, but this season, I wanted to do an extra version of that, that’s why we went with 3D,” said Jacques Bam, the creative director of the Bam Collective.

The Bam Collective AW24.

To add more detailing to the collection, Bam used big, dramatic earrings made by his partner using recycled plastic.

After Bam was Thando Ntuli of Munkus, winner of the 2022 SAFW New Talent Search Competition. This season, Ntuli stripped away the colour as she went back in history, looking at how life was when her grandmother was still her age.

“The collection's name is ‘Ndawoyami’. It looks back at the Constitution and how the youth can rewrite their stories.

“If you look at the imagery, it’s an image of my grandmother back in the age at different points in Johannesburg where she took steps to get where she is today,” said Ntuli.

Munkus AW24.

The designer played around with denim, mohair and cotton wool. She also hand-dyed some of the garments.

Closing day one of SA Fashion Week AW24 collections was Thula-Tu, who showcased a womenswear collection of dresses, jumpsuits and suits.

She used a lot of prints on the corsets and blouses, with olive green and yellow being some of the dominant colours in the collection.

Thula-Tu AW24.

Following her was Vntu, who showcased a trendy collection of crochet pants, appliqué dresses and denim.

Vntu AW24.

And lastly, Elwen Designer closed day one of SA Fashion Week with a street-style collection of stylish jumpsuits and dresses, with pocket detailing taking centre stage. She also used different shades of green to make the collection pop.

Elwen Designs.

SA Fashion Week AW24 collections ended on October 21. A total of 31 designers participated.

Images by Eunice Driver