On Thursday, 17 August 2017, the super-charged preparations for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, JHB, were well underway… and can we (the people of Joburg) just mention how excited we are to have it back on our urban-doorstep! We (the Lisofians on duty) made sure that our batteries were fully charged, Oh! and we took the expected effort of dressing-up to impress the photographers. Since we are still in the spirit of women’s month, I had my girls Samu, Brittney and Anel, this time around, assisting me on covering some juicy fashion jubilations. Readers… are you ready to strut down with us through the Mall of Africa and be a part of yet another Fashion Week in Johannesburg?
We arrived very early on this day to get our media tags and to prepare for the unexpected. We were only set to watch the Spero Villioti show for the night – the show’s concept was quite similar to the Marc Jacobs Spring 2017 collection, with the models in colourful faux dreadlocks. The AFI Experience was filled with enthusiasm and excitement since everybody was interested to see how this new concept/collaboration was going to be executed. La Familia, Innani and Swanker Republic “tornadoed” this evening to greater heights through their gusty collections. Performers , Frank Casino and Nadia Nakai graced the stage to entertain the crowds all the while Samu got a clean cut from Legends Barber Shop, all the way from Eldorado Park, South of Johannesburg.
I mean, nothing can stop the gale force of fashion week. People came out in numbers, even if it meant for them having to bear the striking cold wind. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week blew us off guard by bringing along the strongest Cape Town wind as its guest of honour while giving us the lowest winter temperatures for Joburg. You couldn’t tell if people looked hyped with excitement or if they were just shivering out their pants – but none the less, people still came out to slay. Thankfully, we were able to get a hot beverage from Starbucks (fashion week sponsors) to keep our bodies warm for a short period of frozen time. The media lounge also gave us time to warm-up and socialise in-between shows through the catered Boschendal wines, Skyy vodka and decadent finger platters (thank you sponsors).
Day one’s overall experience was hair-raisingly fun and fashion blasted.
The girls and I were dressed by the ready-to-wear brand Solanga and we made sure that everybody took note of it (and us) through the infamous impromptu photoshoots that are synonymous with fashion week. The first show we watched was the Mall of Africa Show, which included Karen Millen, G-Star Raw, Gerry Weber, Juicy Couture, Hugo Boss, Democratic Republic and Hackett London.
The second show of the night featured Orapeleng Modutle, Adama Paris and Khosi Nkosi. It was my first Modutle show and I am now an official fan of his work. The dresses were beautiful, feminine and whimsical with the spring season being the main ingredient to the overall theme. The runway experience started with white/ crème dresses, then to soft blush pinks and finally to bright pinks framed in a beautiful motion sequence. The Adama Paris show featured beautiful white and orange “little” dresses and dynamic shorts highly appropriate for the anticipated African Summer. Khosi Nkosi never disappoints and her show was once again extremely fun to watch, with her #bossladymindset shining through her colourful work of art as it played on the runway.
As we celebrated the power of creativity over at the AFI Experience, Sakhile, of Sasha collection, amazed the crowd as he entered the show in a mini cab. The crowd got super excited as models stepped out of the cab and started catwalking the ‘IZulu Lami’ collection. The hurried atmosphere and fashion-hungry vibe we experienced from this day left us all hyper excited to wake-up and dress-up for the final day of fashion week.
The last day of fashion week was upon us and the street style welcomed us to the event in a loud voice of colour and print combinations. The star of the day seems to be the skill of mix and matching something gingham with African prints. Even tourists from Belgium had to make sure they captured the trendy gingham style. Everyone was wearing inspiring selections…even us! The lovely tops worn by Lala, Samu and Nondy, were made by our own 2nd Year Fashion Media Lisofian, Dana Oelofse.
Today’s lasting impression began with a large group of dapper, dandy, daddies. There was some serious catwalk excitement for the Quiteria and George S/S 17 collection, Carol’s something on the way smells like teen spirit. The collection’s preview, which featured on their social media platforms, got people so intrigued that they reached a great capacity for this show (go media!).
Just before the Stephanie Morland and Shana Morland show, familiar faces such as, Dr. Smile, Boity Thulo and Adv. Thuli Madonsela, had the crowd on their feet as they walked onto the runway wearing shirts that read “we should all be feminists”. The attendees also received a shirt in celebration of women’s month in an attempt to raise awareness for their cause.
As we end this adventure, it’s important to reflect on what has set this Fashion Week apart from its predecessors. Here is our list: The brutal unfashionable wind, cups of liquid-love coffee, plenty of smiles and an introduction to a youth-fashion cultural experience. There were sensational shows from both the AFI Experience and the actual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Shows. The AFI Experience invited us to experience high-street fashion and has left a lasting impression. The entire experience made us aware of who people want to be and how they’d like to dress. We have also learnt that fashion is not always about pleasing other people but rather about being comfortable with yourself and with what you would like to express through clothes.
Thanks to all the people who put effort into their outfit selections and for allowing us to throw them some much-deserved compliments. Thanks to those who challenge the traditional way of dress in order to bring us new establishments. Special thanks to Tribeca PR and Trace South Africa for the fashion week experience.
Written by: Nondumiso Fatyela (@themarchwolf) and Brittany Paige and Anel Van Vuuren
Photographers: Samu Sibiya, Nhlalala Hlekane, Anel Van Vuuren, Nondumiso Fatyela and Jamaica Skepers
Edited by: Nondumiso Fatyela