Three of South Africa’s most promising young designers will reveal their 2015 Autumn/Winter collections at the foremost fashion event of the season, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ) 2015, at Melrose Arch from March 5-7.
All are part of the AFI Next Generation acceleration programme, the second phase of AFI’s Fastrack™ incubation programme, which asserts these designers as established brands in the South African fashion industry.
AFI Fastrack™ finalists or winners from previous years are given the platform, through AFI Next Generation, to showcase their collections in the various Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks, affording them continued exposure to key media, buyers and industry players.
“Young designers, who have come through AFI Fastrack™, like these AFI Next Generation talents, have all shown great entrepreneurial spirit. Most have started their own labels and this is testament to what African Fashion International is about – to help evolve and bring sustainability to our fashion industry,” says Group Marketing Manager for AFI, Sizwe Nzimande.
Previous AFI Next Generation designers are already becoming household names in the South African fashion industry, including Khothatso Tsotetsi, who will be showcasing his first independent, ready-to-wear collection at MBFWJ under his brand, Tsotetsi KL. AFI Fastrack™ finalist and 2013 Next Generation designer, Tzvi Karp, meanwhile, was recognized as one of the most influential young South Africans in 2013.
This year AFI Next Generation Designers who will all showcase collections are LAND by Jess Sutherland, Akedo by Eleni Lebrou and Oath by Rich Mnisi.
Oath, the label from AFI Young Designer of the Tear 2014, Rich Mnisi, promises a collection with pop culture at its soul. Inspired by the 90s cult movie, “Clueless”, the contemporary sportswear-influenced collection balances ease with ultra-chic, minimalism with carefully curated details, shapes and colour palettes.
AFI Fastrack™ Designer of the Year 2013, Eleni Labrou’s Akedo label will present an aesthetic that melds a vivid color palette with simplistic, tailored silhouettes, interpreting African traditions in a contemporary collection that speaks for the country’s rainbow nation of cultures.
AFI Fastrack™ 2013 finalist, Jess Sutherland’s label, LAND, meanwhile, occupies a space between pure minimalism and highly-detailed embellishment. Her collection, “The Seduction of Impermanence”, will present athletic/work-wear inspired pieces that reflect ease and comfort as well as the colours and textures found in nature.