Fashion lovers convened at the Forum Campus in Bryanston for the African Fashion International (AFI) Joburg Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections for 23/24 to end off the fashion week.
The African Fashion International (AFI) is a ground-breaking fashion organisation that produces first-rate fashion weeks and events.
On the 11th of November, the day started off with the AFI Masterclass, backed by HUAWEI Watch GT4, that was facilitated by fashion maven and stylist, Felipe Mazibuko. The masterclass was based on the topic “Unlocking the Economic Potential of Circular Fashion in Africa.”
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The panelists were Niger fashion designer, Alia Bare, Sustainable Fashion designer and creative AFI Young Designer 2021 Prize Winner, Shamyra Moodley (who joined virtually), and fashion writer and sustainability advocate, Khensani Mohlatole (also joined virtually).
Mazibuko said the event was about showcasing African talent, as well as what customers need to be wearing intentionally.
“I am here to facilitate a masterclass on the circular economy of the whole continent when it comes to sustainability in fast fashion. You are missing out on a beautiful platform where it’s about showcasing African talent, what you need to be wearing, and what we need to be intentionally buying for us to create a circular economy system.”
The Sustainability of Fashion
There are many recurrent issues involved in the sustainability of the fashion industry. Such issues include the business of fashion. For an African made clothing to be able to reach a desired customer, it needs to outperform other competitors with pricing, and the ability to be worn over and over. This is often a tough task to go through because many local designers are already faced with having to be told that locally made clothes are too expensive.
“The visibility of African fashion is downplayed. There needs to be a shift in the creative industry despite the laws that make it difficult to navigate”, said Mazibuko.
Bare said designers need to also be involved in their customer’s experiences by wearing their own clothing and trying it out first before selling.
“As a designer, wear your own clothes. This way, you’ll fully understand your customer’s experience.”
Also, the panel discussed that there isn’t enough funding and/or government intervention to fully support the fashion industry.
Established designers were in attendance like Founder of Kaylaamiel Creations, Seno Moji, who hails from Botswana.
“I’ve been in the fashion industry for next to 20 years. I’m learning and meeting different designers. I was sick when I was creating this collection, but I gave it my all. This is our first-year anniversary with AFI. I named the collection “The Rebirth”. Even though I had showcased in different parts of the world, it wasn’t the same as showcasing at AFI.”
Students from the Tshwane University of Technology were also invited to showcase their pieces. TUT lecturer in the Department of Design Studies, Soloshna Naidoo, said their second and third year students were showcasing, and that this platform is an excellent one to showcase their work and talent.
“We have about 45 students from our third-year group. Our students are very innovative. Sustainability, construction and the engineering of patterns are big parts of their curriculum, so we look forward to see the talent that comes through.”
The week wrapped with an electrifying performance by Grammy award winning artist, Zakes Bantwini.
According to a government website under The Clothing and Textile Competitiveness Programme (CTCP), their aim is to “build capacity among manufacturers and in other areas of the apparel value chain in South Africa” and to empower them to “effectively supply their customers and compete on a global scale”. Well…why were there no government entities attending so they could hear what kind of support or empowerment the fashion industry needs right now? None were in sight.
Main image: AFI on X (Twitter)