South African designers shine at Soweto Fashion Week

FDB Human Store. Picture: Sathia Pather.

FDB Human Store. Picture: Sathia Pather.

Published Nov 7, 2023


The Gibson Kente Theatre at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani was packed to capacity as fashion lovers gathered to experience another exciting season of Soweto Fashion Week.

The three-day fashion week ran from November 2 - 4. Day one saw emerging designers stealing the spotlight while day two and day three were just as exceptional.

Day two was a mixture of emerging and established designers. Enhle Gebashe of Enhle Babes Couture was the first to showcase her stunning ready-to-wear collection, which will be available at Edgars stores this month.

Making her Soweto Fashion Week debut was Nkateko Maranele of Pieces Of Me (POM) Jeans, whose denim collection consisted of trendy pieces such as dungarees, bodysuits, coats, jackets and a head-turning denim xibelani (Tsonga skirt).

“The name of my collection is ‘Khensani’. It’s a dedication to my grandmother, Khansani. I was telling her I’m grateful for everything she has done and continues to do for me.

“It was my way of showing her the results of what I’ve been doing at school. Normally, our pockets are big, and at the back, we have our signature ‘Unity’ sign, which is visible in all our pieces.

“It was my first time showcasing ever. It was stressful because I had exams but everything turned out well,” said Maranele.

Utaam showcased an everyday wear range of mini skirts, tie-dye pieces and midi dresses, catering to both sexy and modest women.

Be Beautiful Hair. Picture: Sathia Pather.

Be Beautiful Hair followed with their hair installation, showcasing head-turning high fashion hairstyles.

Be Beautiful Hair. Picture: Sathia Pather.

Representing KwaZulu-Natal was Ubambano dressed by Mnotho and Crochet by Ndoeh, who are part of the 035 Fashion Hut.

It was their first time participating in Soweto Fashion Fashion Week, and both Ubambano and Crochet by Ndoeh unveiled stunning summer pieces with bright spring colours.

“When someone thinks of crochet, they are thinking of their grandparents, but then I decided that since it’s something known as ‘old fashion’, let me bring it with the young vibe. The theme was spring/summer collection, so I had to play around with that,” said Nomfundo Nsele of Crochet by Ndoeh.

Meanwhile, Mnotho Ngema of Dressed by Mnotho showcased a range of modern Zulu men, paying tribute to the late Zulu Prince, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, since it was an open secret that Buthelezi was a fashionista of note.

Precious Lulu Mahlangu, founder of Precious Lulu Couture and 035 Fashion Hut, took everyone back to her fashion journey as she showcased pieces from her previous collections.

She picked red-and-black, and green-and-gold as her main colours, showing beadwork, ready-to-wear high fashion and red carpet-ready garments.

“I’d like to believe that I’m one of the few designers who are walking closets of their crafts. With every single collection that I make, it has to be something that I can wear.

“I am inspired by myself, my perception of fashion and my understanding of fashion and that is what I give to the world. Every single piece is a representation of who I am as a fashion creative,” said Mahlangu.

Last to showcase on day two was Freshwear, who stunned with a golfer range full of bold patterns, including Basotho prints.

Day three was a big night as the organisers also included entertainment from local musicians.

First to showcase was Sibu Sithole of the FDB Human store, who pulled an impressive presentation by giving guests not only a fashion show but a musical experience as well.

He had a live band of Kasi rock to accompany his stylish denim collection inspired by punk.

FDB Human Store. Picture: Sathia Pather.

“With this collection, I just wanted to be myself. I love Kasi rock so much, so I wanted to fuse my two passions, music and fashion, to make one spectacular show,” said Sithole.

Mkhazin Pro, a musician from Mapetla, Soweto, kept the guests entertained with a splendid performance while Alfalfa prepared for the next show.

Alfalfa impressed with a lovely womenswear range of tulle skirts with a dash of African print for a modern traditional woman.

Alfalfa. Picture: Sathia Pather.

This was followed by Precious Moments Consulting, who showcased couture make-up looks that are expected to be on trend this season.

Be Beautiful Hair once again showcased their hair range, ensuring that everyone who missed day one and day two got to see their head-turning styles.

Swazi Goons took to the stage to perform their hit singles, including “Habit”, which they recorded with the late Killer Kau before he passed on while Dope brought the crowd back to the fashion world with a whimsical collection of comfortable loungewear.

N.O.T.E. Picture: Sathia Pather.

Top Flow followed with a performance, wowing the crowd with their hit single “Angelina” that’s currently making the rounds on TikTok.

Closing Soweto Fashion Week SS23/24 was Elias of N.O.T.E, who pulled a star-studded show, taking people through his fashion journey from when he started with Soweto Fashion Week in 2011 until now.