Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week comes to Cape Town

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African fashion InternationalIn less than a month, African Fashion International (AFI) will be hosting the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town (MBFWCT) from 7 – 10 August 2013. Close to thirty local fashion labels will display their upcoming Spring/Summer 2013/2014 collections at the home of Cape Town Fashion Week, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

In line with AFI’s theme for 2013, the event will celebrate the strength of “Fashion, Art & Design” in the City of Cape Town leading up to the city’s status as the World Design Capital 2014. The event, taking place in “Women’s Month”, will also highlight and salute the impact that the fashion industry has on the lives of women.

MBFWCT kicks off on the 7th August with a Gala dinner hosted by the official event partner, the City of Cape Town, at the historic Civic Centre. The evening will include a fashion presentation from two emerging designers. One of the designers showcasing is Earnest Mahomane, a developmental designer being mentored by one of fashion’s foremost creators and MBFWCT’s event producer, Gavin Rajah. Also showcasing will be head designer Kelly Davids’ emerging fashion label, MilQ and Honey.

“Mentoring young up-and-coming designers, and providing them with access to top industry experts and opportunities, has been integral to AFI’s way of developing the industry,” says Bella Cebekhulu, Business Development Manager at AFI. She adds that “AFI is grateful to the many designers and fashion-insiders who remain open to welcoming new talent and sharing their skills with them.”

AFI has also curated a strong showing of successful women-led design businesses including Jenny le Roux at Habits, Gabi Rosenwerth at Rosenwerth and eponymous labels Stefania Morland and Cheryl Arthur. “We are especially excited that, in keeping with our company’s culture of empowering women, we can honour the pillars of the fashion industry: the female entrepreneurs and design-leaders; the consumers who drive the success of clothing in this country; and the unsung heroines behind-the-scenes,” says Kyle Boshoff, Communications Officer. In valuing these heroines, AFI will also be presenting an exhibition titled “Women Behind the Seams”.

Staged in the form of an art gallery display, the exhibition was conceptualised by MBFWCT Creative Director, Gavin Rajah and will celebrate the women ‘behind the designer’; these are the women who translate a creative vision into the garments that walk down the runway. This exhibition is the starting block for a year for a coffee table book, using these images as well as shooting other women in the fashion industry. These profiles will include fashion entrepreneurs, designers, models, producers and hair and make-up artists. This ongoing project will be finalised in August 2014 and released to celebrate Women’s month once again.

As part of their CSI initiative, AFI will again this year treat three women from the NGO, the Clothing Bank, to a complete make-over in an effort to applaud their hard-work and success at using the clothing industry to create a sustainable living for themselves and their families.

Menswear, which is receiving heightened importance internationally, has also not been ignored this season. Men’s apparel will be represented by Fabiani, Ruald Rheeder and Adriann Kuiters as well as AFI Fastrack™ 2012 winner Kim Gush; Dax Martin and Craig Port will be catering for women’s and men’s ranges. The closing day (Saturday 10 August) will open with a celebration of Johannesburg-based designers looking to speak to a national customer base, including David Tlale, Thula Sindi, Loin Cloth & Ashes and Morphe.

Other notable designers include Lalesso (whose designs have been lauded by international style icon Kimora Lee Simmons) and national retailing fashion label Tart, as well as the other exciting S/S collections from Lara Klawikowski and Goat Clothing (both showing under AFI Next Generation), Danielle Margaux, Non-European, Shana, Lo, Spilt Milk, Michelle Ludek, Leigh Schubert, Tart and Lazuli.

This season’s shows will be produced by respected industry-experts, producers Deon Redman (Deon Redman Creative Productions), Mary Reynolds (Tramps) and Jan Malan (Umzingeli Productions). The three will be joined by Group of Creatives (headed up by Simon and Jennifer Deiner). Heading up the team is CD, Gavin Rajah Concepts, whose direction on the look and feel of the event will speak to the “Fashion, Art & Design” theme.

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