IT’S FASHION WEEK…AGAIN!

Activists around the world are questioning the relevance of fashion week, demanding transparency across the entire supply chain.  At SAFW, we strongly believe that this is an important issue that requires our attention.  Here’s our perspective on why we believe that fashion week is here to stay.

The world of fashion has experienced dramatic change, intensified by the advent and growth of digital media, directly impacting fashion weeks globally.

Briefly, from a historical standpoint, the concept of fashion week was born from a presentation by a designer for potential customers, and later for the press.  The collections presented took months to produce and the only access for the general public was through magazines, which provided the main avenue for the inspiration of trends.

Fashion is as democratised as it’s ever going to be.  Irrespective of where you are in the world, you have instant access to the latest designer collections.  The latest everything-fashion.  Today many of the world’s leading designers live-stream their collections, resulting in the collapse of fashion’s inner sanctum, blurring the line between media and consumers and the traditional divide between the ‘fashion haves and have-nots’.

All previous perceptions of fashion have changed forever, and the gap between the ‘seeing’ and ‘buying’ significantly reduced.  You no longer have to physically attend a show, due to social media and related platforms delivering runway fashion right to your doorstep.

“Our industry is at a crossroad.  The challenges are immense, but exciting.  SA Fashion Week is committed to making history by contributing to positive change across the entire fashion supply chain.”

Lucilla Booyzen, Director, SAFW

As we head into 2020, this raises a vital question.  Who is fashion week for and is it still relevant?  Does it still benefit designer, industry and consumer?

Our short answer is a definitive YES.  But why?

Fashion Week remains the most effective marketing and retail platform for designers and industry players at large.  There’s simply no better way for brands to secure the attention provided to them by the large scale of fashion week.

In fact, fashion week presents designers, retailers, marketers, press and consumers with more opportunities than ever before.  From the big established brands to the fledging labels, fashion week offers numerous business reasons that are fundamental to their success.

From attracting business partnerships to editorial coverage, there’s no better way for designers to showcase their most exciting and creative work.  And let’s not forget that fashion week is exactly that, a designer’s opportunity to tell their story, communicating their ideas to the world.

A designer’s collection is a story.  It’s a reflection of the world around us, the zeitgeist, capturing the mood across culture, politics and economics.  The battle over hemlines has evolved dramatically.  Today, designers use their collections to express and address issues ranging from climate change to our lack of privacy.

SAFW believes this to be of integral importance in the global fashion week debate.  We too have evolved.  We are consistently expanding and creating innovative opportunities for the industry, and are positioned to both reflect and focus on issues that require action and change.

For more than two decades we’ve provided dedicated support to the growth of our continent’s fashion industry.  SAFW provides our designers with far more than ‘just a show’ in a venue packed full of influential and glamourous industry players.

In addition to SA Fashion Week’s annual collections, we’ve established initiatives which include the New Talent Search, SAFW Student Competition, the Cape Wools and Mohair SA Designer Challenge and the SAFW Trade Show.

SAFW is committed to aligning and building relationships with designers who truly understand their creative power and influence.  We will continue to support them as they endeavour to positively impact both the economy and the world at large.

Sustainability is a globally pressing issue.  It’s an industry-wide accepted metric that matters most, now.  SAFW and its designers understand the importance of approaching fashion with sustainability as a leading principle.  We have committed to a 5-year development plan for our local design culture.  We aim to equip designers with both the insights and skills to ensure viable sustainable business models and production systems.  Projects to support this include the creation of a series of workshops in early 2020.

In addition, across all our projects, we will be including critical sustainable fashion evaluation criteria.  Together, we’ll work towards the common goal of lessening the industry’s environmental impact.  This will include considerations such as fabric use, cutting and crafting techniques, and the creation of timeless, trans-seasonal collections.

”SA Fashion Week’s immediate goal is to initiate a process of collaboration and joint problem-solving within the designer community and the broader clothing industry.  It’s our hope that we will entrench our local fashion ethos as one that supports people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measures.”

Lucilla Booyzen, Director, SAFW

Furthermore, we are supporting global values through carefully selected partnerships with local organisations, such as Twyg.  As the country’s premier online sustainable magazine, and with the launch of their Sustainable Fashion Awards, we believe in the positive power, reach and influence of invaluable relationships such as this.

FASHION FACTS:

  • 36KG OF GARMENTS PER PERSON ARE DISCARDED EVERY YEAR
  • 80 BILLION GARMENTS ARE MANUFACTURED GLOBALLY ANNUALLY
  • 3 OUT OF EVERY 4 GARMENTS PURCHASED WILL BE DISCARDED
  • ASK YOURSELF THE QUESTION* #WhoMadeMyClothes
  • STUDIES REVEAL THAT 64% OF THE WORLD’S BRANDS HAVE SIGNIFICANT ROOM FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF SUSTAINABLE PRACTICE(S)
  • TRANSPARENCY IS A TOOL FOR CHANGE, CREATING A FAIRER AND SAFER FASHION INDUSTRY

Supporting the overall objectives of SA Fashion Week, is our Trade Show.  An integral part of our vision, the Trade Show provides powerful business-to-business opportunities for our creative fashion industry.  Aligned with the goals of global trade shows, SAFW’s Trade Show has been designed to perform as a productive platform for designers and brands to network and trade with both local and international buyers, media and consumers.  Beautifully curated, this exhibition offers a fashion trading ground across ladies and menswear contemporary designer collections, jewellery, footwear and accessories.

Providing a soft entry to the media and buyers, we ensure that all participants in the SAFW Trade Show are retail ready, with sustainability-focused, sound business processes.  The Trade Show supports all exhibitors by delivering credibility and networking opportunities, optimising marketing, purchasing power and lead generation.

Let’s end right back at the beginning…

Do we need fashion week?  Yes, as SAFW, we will continue to use fashion week and our supporting initiatives to celebrate the positive power and influence of fashion.

Join us on our journey to use SA Fashion Week and its immense creative talent to reduce the local industry’s harmful impact on a global level.  Together, we can create a more sustainable fashion future, for South Africa and the world.

SAFW AW20 – THE LUXURY COLLECTIONS 23-26 October 2019

Keep an eye on the press or visit www.safashionweek.co.zafor more information.

* REFERENCE: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/transparency/