By Polly Ester, Friday 26 October 2018

Let’s just talk about how 21 years ago there was little foresight that the SAFW platform would grow to support fashion design talent in this way, growing businesses, contributing to the economy and revealing to the world that Africa is a continent jammed with fresh innovation. We can’t ignore that through this platform, the country’s entire fashion industry has grown exponentially on every level.

Runway Backstage

The first show of SAFW’s Day 3 brought the new Rubicon range down a runway of female empowerment. Birthed over 16 years ago by designer Hangwani Nengovhela, Rubicon has flourished into a successful and extremely desirable lifestyle brand for SA’s professional and ambitious women. Having participated in SA Fashion Week for the last decade, Rubicon today has 3 sub-brands, ensuring that the personal and individual choice of all women is catered for.

Hangwani’s AF|19 range revealed her innate ability to tap into the deeply personal way in which women relate to fashion. Her garments become empowering tools for self-expression through generously cut, clean lines. Black, white and subtle pattern combined with lace, structured pleating and ruffles are used to create feminine shapes, exposing Hangwani’s talent of ensuring that the line of a garment hits the female body in exactly the right place, resulting in an instantly empowered, effortless sophistication. The Rubicon brand embodies tailored craftsmanship and timeless design.


The afternoon arrived with it the second showcase of The BRICS Designer Collections. The Department of Arts and Culture have committed to assisting with the growth of the industry by building sustainable businesses and access across borders. 5 of the 10 designers representing the BRICS countries showcased their collections on Wednesday, and 5 yesterday – an exciting combination of local and international fashion talent from countries as diverse as SA, India, China, Russia and Brazil.

Clive Rundle

One of the 5 designers showing as South Africa’s representative is Zimbabwe-born constructionist, Clive Rundle. Known as an avant-garde visionary, and a ‘wizard of cut and cloth,’ Clive’s AW|19 show presented a collision of prints and textiles; which included Wrapt’s Cape Merino wool, chiffons and knits, transformed into contemporary shapes and silhouettes with meticulous lines. His constant reuse and recycling of fabrications leads to a beautiful clash of different eras that move far beyond the constraints of time and space. As the models walked, the garments revealed insight into Clive’s imagination and obsession with detailing.

Antar-Agni, by Ujjawal Dubey, representing India, showed a range of effortlessly classic separates. Using a language of natural and organic fabrics, this designer has an unbelievable talent for wrapping the body in layers of shaded nuance with unusual features. There were at least 3 pieces I needed immediately.


The next show was Appletiser’s style collab’ with brands Sober, Ephymol and SIES!Isabelle. Ephraim Molingoana, of Ephymol, is another of our country’s fashion icons whose been in the industry since 2002 as a self-taught designer following a successful international modelling career. Known for his bold masculine tailoring with quirky elements, his AW|19 range didn’t disappoint. Contrasting tropical prints and strong solids resulted in a truly desirable ready-to-wear range.


The SIES!Isabelle ladies wear brand has, over the past 9 years, grown a loyal following of women who love Isabelle Lotter’s crafted, asymmetrical pieces in luxurious natural fabrics. AW|19 plays witness to a collaboration with Stephanie Bentum from Krafthaus, resulting in sculpted, oversized tunic style wool coats complimented by Isabelle’s soft, raw silk dresses. A statement indeed.



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