The best and worst fashion moments of 2023

The BRICS+ Fashion Summit was one the most significant fashion events of 2023. Picture: Supplied.

The BRICS+ Fashion Summit was one the most significant fashion events of 2023. Picture: Supplied.

Published Dec 21, 2023


Fashion is one of the biggest art forms in the world. Everyone is a fashionista in their own right, some better than others.

Fashion is a universal language spoken by many, but only a few understand it. This year, we’ve seen the industry take its spotlight on the global stage. In most cases, fashion was never considered that serious, irrespective of the fact that it affects everyone as we all need clothes to wear every day.

One of the biggest fashion moments in 2023 was the introduction of the BRICS+ Fashion Summit, which recently took place in Moscow, Russia.

A first of its kind, this summit had to happen to bridge the gap between fashion capitals and bring fashion experts together to come up with solutions on how to grow and sustain this industry.

For example, Africa is full of talented designers and stylists who can make simple clothes look extraordinary and ordinary people you’d swear are street-style experts, judging by their everyday looks.

Kunjina at the BRICS+Fashion Summit.

However, African fashion has little support. Both the government and potential customers complain about the prices, but when it comes to European brands Louis Vuitton and Gucci, they never question the prices.

With platforms like BRICS+ Fashion Summit, more people will realise that charity begins at home and start appreciating and supporting local brands from their respective countries before taking the money outside.

And since African countries were part of the summit, more people will realise that African brands have space in the fashion industry and have the potential to be seen and well respected.

Bringing the Amari Prize to South African shores

Lukhanyo Mdingi winning the Amiri Prize was one of the most pivotal fashion moments for South Africa. He beat designers from other parts of the world with by telling authentic African stories through fashion.

Also, he’s one of the most fashion-conscious designers who always ensures their garments are sustainable.

The Amiri Prize is an inclusive, prestigious annual award and incubator established to encourage, nurture and showcase up-and-coming talent from fashion and fashion-adjacent fields that otherwise might not have their voices heard.

Lukhanyo Mdingi (right) with his muse.

Strutting that walk at a funeral

What an iconic way to say goodbye to a fashion designer. A model named Erica L Carrington broke the internet when she strutted her stuff at Vernest Moore’s funeral, a designer she has worked with for years.

Carrington looked ravishing in a silver dress by the late designer.

After learning about the story behind the runway at a funeral, many social media users were impressed, not only by her modelling skills but by how the deceased’s family and friends had respected his last wishes and staged one final runway show for him.

“Honey, you read the assignment and gave more than what was required. He’s looking down proud. If they’re talking… obviously, you did something right. Keep walking,” commented @_jassycakes.

Another Instagram user, @preetytrice612, said: “Sis, you killed it. I know he was smiling down like: ‘Give it to the people one last time for me’. Beautiful tribute.”

Erica L Carrington at Vernest Moore’s funeral. Picture: Instagram.

International prominent figures wearing local designers

Seeing former US first lady Michelle Obama wear African designers was fulfilling. During her visit to Cape Town she wore both Maxhosa Africa and Thebe Magugu.

African leaders can learn a thing or two from her on how to support local fashion designers. The State of The Nation Address could be one event where our leaders support local designers by wearing their clothes because people always watch the red carpet ceremony, anticipating to see what they are wearing.

Fashion lows

Nudity on the red carpet

We get that sex sells, but it’s high time people understand that nudity is no longer exciting. And no, we are not saying people should dress modestly and hide. It’s nice to show skin here and there.

Rock that high-slit skirt and put on that bareback dress. What’s low is wearing a mesh dress with no underwear and putting tape on your private parts as a cover-up like Tinashe did at MTV VMAs.

She has a stunning body but had no business looking that tacky on the red carpet.

Tinashe at the MTV VMAs. Picture: Instagram.

Gatecrashing a fashion show

At New York Fashion Week this year, there was a man who gatecrashed one of the shows, pretending to be a model. While he may have been “funny” to some, that prank was so 2019.

Designers pay a lot of money to showcase at fashion shows for their clothes to shine, only for a prankster to steal the limelight.

Stealing designs

Yes, we know that nothing is new under the sun and that fashion is forever evolving, but copying someone’s work exactly as is, screams laziness and lack of creativity.

You can draw inspiration from other designers and add your own elements to come up with something fresh, but that’s not what Ghana’s Bloom By Edzi and South Africa’s La Jaqueta did this year.

Edzi accused La Jaqueta of stealing her design on the custom dress La Jaqueta made for Lethabo Shai to wear for the “Barbie” movie premiere.

The biggest plot twist was that Edzi was also not the original designer of the dress.

Aimee Smale, the founder of Odd Muse, has been designing those kinds of dresses way before Edzi did. So, claiming to be the originator of the design was reaching.

Lethabo Shai wearing a Barbie dress by Bloom By Edzi. Picture: Victor Turay.