Saturday Star

Glitz and glam at fashion week


THE lockdown leisure trend is being relegated to the back of the wardrobe as glitz and glamour are expected make a comeback on the ramp at the AFI Fashion Week Joburg 2021 in Sandton next week.

Some top designers such as David Tlale and K Moraba, Imprint and Seditsi Collection will be showing, and it’s also a massive opportunit­y for new designers.

This week saw four of AFI (African Fashion Internatio­nal) Fastrack students completing their designs.

Vying for the title of Young Designer of the Year, Siyabonga Mtshali, Shamyra Moodley, Cheron Dreyer and Kene Mhletshwa were at Kingsgate Clothing in Durban, feverishly putting the last touches to their designs.

Moodley, 40, left her past life as an accountant after the birth of her second child and moved into the creative space with her label, Laaniraani.

Favouring sustainabl­e fabrics such as cottons and linens, she moved into fashion when, after working in Ireland, she returned to Cape Town and “I found myself sitting on the couch and knew I couldn’t be a stay-at-home mom, so I started a fashion blog”.

She started her own label, saying: “I get to define my own future; it’s a new decade and I get to recreate who I am.”

Mtshali, 23, worked in theatre, dance and music before taking on the fashion industry in Joburg.

“I studied fabric and I think about the movement and music that the garb is going to walk through. It can be a beautiful narrative,” he said. Looking towards the summer season, he added, “because of Covid, people are wanting to dress up a bit more and dive into some glitz and glamour. For the summer ahead, I see a lot of gathers, tassels and embroidery”.

Johannesbu­rg-based Mhletshwa, 31, is inspired by simplicity and a clean look, using sheer fabrics.

“I’ve always loved fashion and I wasn’t good at maths and science at school. Fashion must be saleable and accessible,” she said, adding that she also does styling, and her “must have” item in her handbag was her lipstick.

Cape Town designer Dreyer was always good at art. “I was always doodling and I’ve always done dresses on the side, and the moment I stepped into a design studio, I knew it was where I was meant to be,” she said.

Dreyer never leaves home without her lip gloss and advised that lashes are still high on the trends list – after all, masks are still on, with smiling eyes doing all the talking.

The AFI Fastrack is a national graduate fashion platform which offers emerging designers an opportunit­y to showcase a collection at the Joburg Fashion Week. The chosen designers are mentored by establishe­d designers, as well as doing an online business of fashion course.

The winner of the Young Designer of the Year is awarded start-up capital to invest in their business and a retail opportunit­y with the AFI e-commerce platform and House of Nala concept store.

The show will be hybrid, so both in-person experience­s and online guests can go to www.africanfas­hionintern­ to register, while the venue is the 41st floor, The Leonardo, in Sandton.

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