SAFW/LISOF Trend Program: S/S13 SA Fashion Week Trend Report – GET GRAPHIC


By Kylie de Vlieg

Trend Analysis Lecturer – Nicola Cooper

As an aspiring trend analyst, one is always on the lookout for something new, the next best up-and-coming trend. We search for a distinct look and in doing so we often overlook the broader spectrum, in 2013 the latest consumer obsession is Newism:

Due” to the democratization and globalization of innovation (not to mention the celebration of entrepreneurship), brands and individuals from all corners of the world are now working around the clock to dream up and launch endless new products and services, that are truly better and more exciting than current offerings”.( 2013)

During SAFW S/S 2013 at the Rosebank Hotel this trend of newism was very much apparent as old looks were recreated from the past into something we will soon see on the streets of South Africa. Spots, dots, sheers and geometric prints with stripes as the hero of graphics are one of S/S 2013 most notable fashion trends.

The Macro trend of graphic prints and prominent stripes seen on the runway of SAFW S/S 2013 will be apparent from the ultra sophisticated ball gowns to every day commercial clothing racks. The excellent thing about this trend is that you are most likely to already own some form of print or stripes.

“Geometric prints are really fun to play with, because you can choose to match or clash prints. The prints should be quite angular and repetitive, resembling shapes like triangles, zigzags, circles, squares, stripes or diamonds, and they work best on simple silhouettes like fitted sweaters, tunics, tapered trousers and pencil skirts.” (Oppel, 2013)

This trend is not exclusive to the over spenders or fashions elite. Anyone and everyone can manipulate it to their own desire. Colour block this season by using bold and striking geometric patterns in popular colours such as black, gold, yellow, blue and Pantones colour of the year, Emerald. If you are not so brave you can go for the subtle striped headband or a triangular inspired necklace as seen in Bianca Warren’s S/S 2013 collection at SAFW (see image 1)

Bianca Warren
Image 1
Bianca Warren
Filename: 13SAFWa_BiancaWarren_0541.jpg
Location: Crowne Plaza, Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Credit: Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

The graphic print trend focuses on the visual aesthetics, as it uses solid colours in contrast to each other often dramatically juxtaposed as seen in Black Coffee’s S/S Collection at SAFW 2013 (see image 2). Jacques van der Watt, ‘used the visual language of imprint’ to create Black Coffee’s S/S 2013 range. It “is created through hand-rendered patterns embellished onto delicate mesh dresses” The collections intricate detail captures the minds of it’s adorners as the ridged angular prints are reflected repeatedly onto each garment. All carrying the same “negative pattern image created in original Congolese Kuba cloths” says Van der Watt. Varying in colours and designs each garment is designed to perfection.

Black Coffee
Image 2
Black Coffee
Filename: 13SAFWa_BlackCoffee_0197.jpg
Location: Crowne Plaza, Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Credit: Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

The large focus of S/S 2013 SAFW was not so much the presence of the Graphic print trend but the colours, textures and finishes found expressing them. Come the boom of black and white. This was seen all over SAFW from the runway to the streets, the solid black and white stripes were in full force. One of South Africa’s most loved and well known designers Gert-Johan Coetzee reflected this contrast of black and white in his S/S 2013 collection seen on day 3 of SAFW (see image 3)

Gert-Johan Coetzee

The reinvention of the Breton stripes was also seen on SAFW runway by designer Caren Waldman of TWO. While using different fabrics and textures we saw the prominent horizontal stripes with the ever so popular slanted black and white stripes in contrast to the neutral shades seen in her collection. (See image 4)

Image 4
Filename: SDR_6742.jpg
Location: Crowne Plaza, Joburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Credit: Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

The Breton striped shirt was first worn in 1858. The navy and white shirt had 21 stripes that represented each of Napoleon’s victories. It then became the uniform for all French navy men. Named after the Breton workers who increased its popularity throughout the later half of the nineteenth century. (Bien, 2013; Wikifashion – Breton stripes)

Coco Chanel first introduced The Breton stripes to the fashion world in 1917 during a trip to the French Rivera

“She saw the workers in the marina wearing their knit navy and white striped shirts and the inspiration for a new nautical collection was born. Paired with her wide leg pants and high waisted belt, Coco Chanel was a vision of casual, seaside sportswear”. (Bien, 2013) (See image 5)


Image 5 Chanel in her Sailor’s matelot at La Pausa with her dog Gigot, 1930
Image from Coco Chanel – The legend and the life
Justine Picardie


The Breton stripe has been adapted by almost every group possible. From artists like Andy Warhol to movie stars like Audrey Hepburn in the 1950’s. In the 21st century we have seen revival of these familiar stripes but often with a trendy twist. Big chunks of black and white with sheer inserts make for a beautiful contrast. Timeless crisp, translates into everything from ball gowns to a casual striped T-shirt. ‘Whether they’re traditional navy and white or jazzed up in a bold color combination or embellished with sequins, the Breton stripes have now been a staple in closets for over 160 years.'(Bien, 2013)

The Trend of Graphic geometric prints have been seen on the runways around the world for many years, this is not a new trend. It is however being re-created especially with the newism consumer trend of 2013. Although it is not a new trend it is a classic timeless style that gets shaped and shifted. The Breton stripes as mentioned earlier have been a macro trend since the early eighteenth century. In the Late nineteenth century a music genre arose from England which combined elements of pop, ska, and reggae, this genre was called “2 Tone”,

“Representing the 2 Tone movement. The black-and-white checkerboard pattern was chosen to symbolize racial unity and equality, and has since then come to represent the second wave of ska music.”(Melanson)

The checkerboard pattern is black and white, very similar to the minimalistic take on stripes seen on the SAFW S/S 2013 runway, this graphic print is often found on clothing, footwear, wallets and purses and used by many iconic brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. During the 1980’s “checks “as well as bold graphics and bright colours dominated the decade’s fashions, and have been seen on the runways for over the last three decades. This shows that the graphic prints are here to stay and will continue to reappear on the runways and clothes racks around the world, taking on new shapes, forms and silhouettes. It’s a classic style more than a trend.

Big, small, simple or psychedelic, graphic prints are a relevant trend because it’s a hard and soft mesh of textures and patterns coming together much like South Africa with its diversity of cultures and styles. The beautiful balance between rich cultural history and contemporary inspiration flows through the garments seen at SAFW S/S 2013; the black and white representing our country’s past yet the new translations of the patterns can be seen as the boundaries being pushed by the creative minds. This trend is appropriate for South Africa because we are notorious for taking something old and recreating it in a proudly South African way.

Reference List:


Trend Briefing: Clean slate brands – Heritage is the new baggage, Lust for the new (April 2013) Available:

Origin of stripes

Heather Bien, March 2012, Sweetlemon magazine – History of stripes Available:


Breton stripes Available:


Tarryn Oppel, March 2013, – Crazy for geometric prints. Available:

History of Checks

G.Melason, Edited by: Bronwyn Harris, – what is a checkerboard pattern?

Publication 2003-2013 Conjecture Corporation.


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