SAFW SS23: What you need to know

MRP steps up for the New Talent Search, SAFW welcomes two exciting first time global industry guests and Thula Sindi returns

Here's your primer ahead of tonight's Day 1 SS23 shows at South African Fashion Week. [Official programme here]

SAFW New Talent Search AW23 | Eunice Driver, Eunice Driver Photography

Mr Price Group assumes sponsorship of SAFW New Talent Search

The updated prize package for the winning 7-10 look collection by a local emerging designer comes to R50k cash, mentorship in the MRP office across all departments and an exclusive collection for MRP, sold in selected stores. The retail giant's sponsorship of SAFW's New Talent Search will see a return to this classic three-pronged prize format. "We felt that we wanted to go back to supporting the industry in a more formal way," MRP Managing Director Kevin Smit explained.

💡 MRP's Project range is the surviving element of what used to be the brand's partnership with ELLE magazine's young talent search for fashion design. Winners co-created a limited edition range with MRP's team as part of their prize package. Now it's designed completely in-house, serving as an elevated capsule offering of globally relevant trends for discerning style fans. The Project range will remain as is, while MRP builds this partnership with SAFW into a new talent support vertical.

Members of MRP's team will sit on this year's judging panel, including collab and license merchandise manager Vasti McLeod, head of merchandising Sanele Zulu and head of womenswear buying Amber Jones. "Our customer is young and hungry for newness, on-trend fashion and incredible value," Jones said. "A great range for Mr. Price means delivering on our fashion value promise, a fresh approach, innovative thinking, clever use of colour and shape, but most importantly providing our customer the opportunity to express themselves through clothing."

This season's finalists:

  • Mmathabo Silika: Silika

  • Kuhle Phumzile Zondo: E_Mania

  • Caileigh Davis: Silver Magpie

  • Athenkosi Takuta: Artae

  • Lwandle Duma: Lwavant-Garde

  • Oyama Gonintebe

  • Juanie Van Wyk: Juanie

  • Cyla Gonsolves: Cyla Gonsolves

  • Sifiso Kunene: Messrsbasswood

2022 winner Thando Ntuli of MUNKUS will close the show with her Isikhathi /Time SS23 collection.

SAFW AW23 | Eunice Driver, Eunice Driver Photography

3rd edition of Fashion Bridges brings Polimoda director and Italian fashion national council international projects manager to SAFW

SAFW will play host for a third edition of Fashion Bridges (I Ponti della Moda), the exchange program developed with The Embassy of Italy in Pretoria, in partnership with Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (The National Chamber of Italian Fashion, hosts of Milan Fashion Week), the famed Polimoda fashion school in Florence, Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana, Lineapelle (an Italian leather trade show) and the Italian Trade Agency (ICE), with the support of the Nelson Mandela Forum Firenze.

Fashion Bridges facilitates skills development and knowledge exchange across 3 pillars: Cradle of fashion, Young lions, and Mining for fashion materials and tools. While sending a South African designer to a development program hosted by Polimoda is at the centre of the project (the Young Lions pillar), Fashion Bridges has also helped send several boutique owners/managers members of the media and other designers to Italy for industry study visits under the Mining for fashion materials and tools pillar.

Madame Ambassador Oriana Mannaioli Cuculi shared, "The ultimate purpose of this project is to connect fashion designers and the fashion industries of Italy and South Africa... and to create education, internationalisation and business. This year fashion bridges will attain a higher level of connections and development as it will bring director of Polimoda Massimiliano Giornetti and international projects manager of the national chamber Paola Ciolina to South African Fashion Week in person. The fashion shows will be followed by a special event on Sunday April 23, where designers, fashion school representatives and fashion and textile company representatives will come together. So we are very excited and looking forward to this year."

This season's round took Vivier Studios to Italy and will bring Italy's Federico Cina to South Africa, to share the stage on Day 2 at 8:00 pm.

SAFW collaboration with Mozambique Fashion Week celebrates 10th anniversary

Mozambique Fashion Week director Vasco Rocha has been instrumental in helping South African designers break into that market, supporting their presence at fashion week with flight and accommodation assistance, networking opportunities and more. "We are incredibly delighted to be able to return the hospitality this season," SA Fashion Week director Lucilla Booysen shared.

"Three designers are bringing world trends fused with Mozambican culture to South Africa and we're looking forward to the collections of Mabenna, Chibaia, and and Cuccla. All these brands have played in the international arena and are ready to supply stores in South Africa... Vasco has literally grown that industry from a local, almost non existing industry, because we must realise that in Mozambique and some of the other African countries, they don't have a fashion schools or fashion universities. So he really needs a star for developing the designers and taking them abroad so that they can experience that international arena."

See also:

Thula Sindi returns

Designer and Africa Rise founder Thula Sindi will be back on SAFW's runway this week with the 'From the Past' collection at 9:00 pm on Day 1, alongside Lunar and Mantsho.

SAFW Sponsor OPPO's collaboration with Rich Mnisi

New faces join SAFW staff and partner teams

Along with new partner Mr Price, Zebra Square PR joins the show as SAFW's official media liaison partner and show producer (& ex-SAFW model) Natalia Fernandez is SAFW's new Executive Producer.

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