Against all odds, it is only a handful of designers that are pioneering and leading fashion in South Africa – they deserve our admiration, attention and loyalty.


Now in its 21st year, SAFW is the only business-to-business platform that markets and promotes designers throughout Africa and the authoritative voice on the business of fashion.


SAFW AW19, opened its doors to 56 designers, who showcased their Autumn/Winter Collections. The highlight of the celebration was the ’21 YEARS OF FASHION’ book launch and an exhibition that took us on a magical journey through the evolution of fashion design in South Africa, spotlighting the best fashion moments the country has to offer.


The South African Fashion Week is the driving force behind structuring, strengthening and growing a consciousness of the enormous socio-economical value of a vibrant South African fashion design culture.Fashion Week recognises the power our diversity holds in the fashion sector – still one of the most socially inclusive industries in the country.


In celebration of its official coming of age, South African Fashion Week (SAFW) Autumn/Winter 2019’s schedule took on a particularly festive tone as it looked back over 21 years of fostering the development of a vigorous local designer culture.


The exhibition was staged adjacent to the SAFW TRADE SHOW and it featured 71 garments spooling back to 1997, revisiting the development and growth of an indigenous fashion design culture.

This was more than a story about the audacious, stylish and smart coming of age of a glamourous platform called South African Fashion Week.

In addition to this eclectic Fashion Exhibition, in celebration of the 21st year of South African Fashion Week, we will be launching a feature publication showing the history of SA Fashion Week, and by extension the history of South African fashion. Within these pages readers will find the key stages of evolution in fashion, linked to the key points in our nation’s history.



The strength of SA’s Creative Fashion Design industry embeds itself in our diversity. This is a sector that could play a pivotal role in the GDP of our country and is showing steady growth that should not be underestimated.


Leading on from this, our partners are increasingly becoming aware of the soft power of fashion and the importance of tapping into our designers to design and manufacture Collections, promoting their brands through sales. This does not only impact on the Brands that are investing in the designers but on the full value chain creating the jobs that are so desperately needed.


As consumers demand trendier, yet reasonably priced designer items, departmental stores continue to collaborate with our designers to create product lines with middle market appeal.


Thirty percent of all the ladieswear designers in SA are showing their Collections at SAFW and these designers, collectively, supply more than 115 stores nationwide, excluding the online and the departmental stores.

SA Fashion Week’s competitions are an undeniable springboard for young designers. The aim of SA Fashion Week competitions is to assist talented designers, with the potential for commercial growth, to start making the transition from a developing creative business to a sustainable business that can play a role in the Creative Fashion Industry, create jobs, wealth and contribute to the GDP of the country.

Competitions, with the excitement and publicity potential they offer, have proven to be an enormously valuable for the designers to fast forward their


The New Talent search, launched in 1998 catapulted labels like David Tlale, Black Coffee, Cleo Droomer, Annamari Honiball and recently Mmusomaxwell into the limelight.
This season The New Talent Search offers the collections of 8 young stars that will make an impact on the future of fashion.


It is not only about winning the prize. Competitions play a key role in motivating students to develop their ideas and skills.


It gives them a chance to gain substantial experience and the opportunity to analyse and evaluate the outcomes and uncover personal aptitude.


With the SAFW Student Competition we call upon the students from 32 fashion institutions it is an entry point, the first contact that designers have with the media, consumers and buyers. Spotlighting the designers at such an early stage of their career gives SAFW the opportunity to nurture the talent we have, making sure that they stay connected.


The brief:
LEADING THE SLOW DOWN OF FAST FASHION IN SOUTH AFRICA we’re asking final year fashion students to look beyond the ‘immediate’ in Fashion Design as the theme for the ‘Look beyond the short term’ 2018 SAFW Student Competition.


Woolworths StyleBySA
To celebrate local talent and creativity, Woolworths will once again collaborate with the frontrunners of local fashion as they present the Collections of
Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu, Mmuso Maxwell, Wanda Lephoto and The Watermelon Social Club.


“StyleBySA showcases our best local talent in a way that stands up to global trends, and it’s another bold move towards truly sustainable fashion on our Good
Business Journey.’ Shaheda Sayed, Head of Brand Communications: Clothing GM & International Woolworths Marketing

Cape Wool SA designer challenge
This Autumn/Winter sees an exciting three year partnership between Cape Wools SA and SA Fashion Week continues as the SAFW Cape Wools Designer Challenge
returns to the runway.
This challenge highlights and honours some of the top design talent in the country – 6 designers over this three year period will get the opportunity to, not only get a fully sponsored show – fabric included at SAFW but also take part in the ‘Making it in Textiles’ conference in Bradford, UK all expenses paid.


Designers were nominated by a group of industry specialists consisting of fashion editors, buyers, and fashion specialists. Designers, Erre and Klipa were selected by a panel of international judges from NY, London and Milan.


Appletiser Collections
Appletiser returns to SA Fashion Week’s runway this season in a style collaboration honouring three Stellar designer labels – Sober, Ephymol and SIES!Isabelle.
‘The three designers we are collaborating with, believe in co-creation and have a passion for what they do; these are all the values Appletiser imbues.’ Andrea Shuttleworth, Global Head of Marketing.

MINI Collaboration
Following the success of the Scouting Menswear Collections – MINI has a powerful presence in the development of the Kumkani Bespoke label. Outside of SA Fashion Week, MINI is developing a satellite collection in collaboration with Sandile Mlambo that will be sold in selected outlets in South Africa.


SA Fashion Week Men continues to showcase the very best creative and design talent Nationwide.


This season marks the 14th edition of two days devoted to menswear designers at SAFW; menswear being one of fashion’s fastest growing markets in South Africa. Historically men have recognised that image matters, they invest in their wardrobes to look good, they play with fashion in a way that separates them from the rest of the world.


Nineteen menswear designers will show their collection this season – look out for the BAKUSASA Designer Collections – they are part of a new set of young designer that are accelerating the fashion dialog, locally.

SA FASHION TRADE SHOW – a must visit for all media

Trade shows are the most effective way for designers to boost their brand among retailers. It has been an integral part of our vision to build a trade event that would offer improved business-to-business opportunities for the Creative Fashion Industry, similar to that of our international counterparts.


Buyers are looking for something new and fresh to attract their customers, now, more than ever. The Trade Event is designed to be an intimate, networking-friendly and neutral trading ground for all designers in Africa.


It offers a broad spectrum of the various designers’ pricings; optimizing the buyers purchasing power and boutique owners attendance. The exhibiting brands are carefully curated, ensuring that they are retail ready with sound business processes in place to enable them to deliver according to order.


The Trade Event provides a credibility boost, networking time and an opportunity to form new relationships with clients and Vendors as well as a chance to generate leads and a soft entry to the media.


We are determined to nurture and grow this one and only middle-to high-end marketing, business-to-business platform, so that it becomes a premium networking and sales space in Africa.