Cape Town, June 2011. Cape Town’s fashion industry is set to benefit from African Fashion International’s (AFI) “big picture” approach to fashion. AFI positions fashion as a key to developing business, driving tourism, and aiding development in the clothing sector and encouraging sustainable luxury. The vehicle to achieve this approach is Cape Town Fashion Week, taking place from 13-16 July 2011.
From the Press Release: “AFI sees fashion as a business platform that can steerdevelopment in upcoming designers; grow the commercial viability of the fashionsector and highlight new trends, such as “sustainable luxury”. These aspects,along with fashion tourism, are the four pillars Cape Town Fashion Week isbased on. These pillars signify AFI’s “looking forward and beyond the event”approach to fashion in South Africa.As with Joburg Fashion Week 2011, developing youngdesign talent is one of the goals. Foschini AFI Fastrack Dayis a developmental initiative aimed at fast tracking the careers of studentsand graduates in both the design and retail industries. As a follow-on fromFoschini AFI Fastrack Day inJohannesburg, CTFW will feature a graduate design competition together with a strong recruitment focus, interactiveworkshops, street fashion and entertainment. Experts from Foschini will be onhand to facilitate workshops, taking interested students and graduates throughthe entire supply chain process within the retail cycle. The prize for the Foschinigraduate design competition on Foschini AFI Fastrack day is an intensiveinternship programme for three designers. This will culminate in a capsule collection being sold in 3 flagship stores around thecountry.With the support of SA Tourism, the Cape Town FashionCouncil, and Cape Town Tourism, AFI have invited select design powerhouses topresent their Spring/ Summer 2011/12 collections at various iconic venuesaround the city, with the Cape Town InternationalConvention Centre as the main venue. As one of the top ten tourist destinations in the world, Cape Townis no ordinary city. So it stands to reason that the CTICC would be no ordinaryconvention centre. And the fact that, in just five short years, it has becomewidely regarded as one of the leading convention centres in the southernhemisphere bears testimony to this fact.AFI’s point of distinction is that designers areselected through a strict curatorial process by a panel of industry experts andinvited to show.This year’s CTFW line-up of local designers include;Thula Sindi, Leigh Schubert, Gavin Rajah and Abigail Betz, who will presenttheir unique interpretations of the upcoming season’s hottest trends. Other popular designers invited to showcase theircollections include: Daniella Margaux, Habits, Undacova, Dax Martin, Lisp,Nucleus, Lalesso, Tart, Michelle Ludek, Houseof Monatic and Fabiani.AFI’s chairman, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe’s vision tohighlight Africa’s design talent has put South African fashion on the map. Withan attendance of more than 220 000 over the years, AFI has had some of theglobe’s top international models and designers participate in this greatshowcase — achieving their vision to promote South African fashion globally.On AFI’s future plans Dr Precious says, “We are veryexcited about championing [particularly] initiatives that support the plightsof African women & children and will be creating sustainable projects thatwill contribute positively to the lives of our people.” One such initiative is The Clothing Bank, which aims to empower unemployed mothers through enterprisedevelopment. The objective is to give them financial and social independence. “I decided to be a patron of The ClothingBank, because in my practice as a Women’s Health doctor, I realized that healthand economic opportunities were closely linked. The Clothing Bank gives womenan opportunity to earn their own living, learn a skill and improve theirpersonal and family’s livelihood. They can send their children to school, paymedical bills and think about their future.”Unwanted clothes collected at Fashion Weekare “recycled”, and given new life through the work of the ladies from TheClothing Bank. “The opportunity to create more jobs for unemployed seamstressesthrough projects like The Global Robing Project is also very exciting forme” says Dr. Moloi-Motsepe. “Innovation isimportant, and at the centre of innovation is sustainability. AFI will continueto engage the public and all key stake holders in an attempt to raise awarenessand learn more about sustainable and ethical practices.” she adds.Commenting on what Cape Town fashion specifically, hasto offer the world, Bryan Ramkilawan CEO: Cape Town Fashion Council says,” CapeTown designers have an intellectual approach to fashion and are progressive andinnovative”, he continues, “we have tremendously creative people, they justneed a platform.” On Cape Town Fashion Week he adds, “Ultimately I believe that[Cape Town] fashion week is a business platform not an entertainment one, it isa key financial driver of our city.”Earlier this year,Thandiwe January-McLean, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism saidthat it makes perfect sense for South African Tourism to support the variousexciting fashion initiatives: “South Africanshave recently shown that we are world leaders in engineering, construction,event organisation, technological advancement and innovation and now it’s theturn of our fashion industry to showcase its world-class qualities. We, atSouth African Tourism, are committed to supporting our fashion industry in itsattempts to rival the likes of Paris, Milan and New York in the global fashionstakes. That is why in 2011 we will be supporting the Joburg, Cape Town andAfrica Fashion Weeks” “