The importance of sustainable fashion awards in South Africa

Shamyra Moodley, one of the winners at last year’s sustainable fashion awards.

Shamyra Moodley, one of the winners at last year’s sustainable fashion awards.

Published Oct 17, 2023


It is so secret that South Africa is behind with sustainable fashion. Yes, we do have designers who are at the forefront of sustainability. However, we also have those who are deep within fast fashion.

By prioritising sustainable, locally made textiles and products, the South African economy receives support through job creation, strengthening of communities and by reducing the impact of imported fast fashion on the environment.

And while we have many fashion brands in the country, most import textiles and finished products are from other countries.

According to the government-commissioned report ‘Designing Climate-Compatible Industrial Strategies for South Africa: The Textiles Value Chain’, retail sales of imported clothing, footwear and textiles totalled more than R175 billion in 2018, while the 800 local clothing manufacturers generated a significantly smaller revenue of R19 billion in the same year.

At the same time, according to GreenCape, a non-profit organisation that drives the widespread adoption of economically viable green economy solutions, about 6% of South Africa’s total landfill waste is made up of textiles.

That is why Twyg, a leading South African sustainable fashion and beauty non-profit organisation, is on a mission to inspire a fashion and textile industry that’s kind, fair, inclusive, diverse, nature-friendly, sustainable and embraces circular design principles.

One of the ways the solution-driven platform champions this path is by hosting the annual Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards.

“The annual awards, first launched in 2019, not only celebrate South African designers, innovators, influencers and activists, awarding them for their hard work but also project their groundbreaking work to a larger audience.

“This, in turn, encourages consumers to shop sustainably and invites the next generation of designers to take a sustainable approach,” read a statement from the organisation.

The categories for the awards are Emerging Designer, Accessories, Innovative Design and Materials, the Nicholas Coutts Award, Farm-to-Fashion, Social Impact, Retail, The Tastemaker Award, Trans-Seasonal Design and Footwear.

The finalists will be announced on November 14 and thereafter the winners will be selected by Twyg.

One designer whose brand embraces sustainable and circular design practices will walk away with the “Changemaker Award”. The awards ceremony will take place next month in Cape Town.