With South Africa Fashion Week 2023 on the horizon (April 20 - 22), at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg, there are quite a few notable designers that you should know about. Below are a few of our faves including the full list of designers showing at the upcoming Fashion Week in April:
Born and raised in, Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, Thandazani studied at St Johns College before going on to the Nelson Mandela University for Textile Design. He is currently working as textile design consultant under CHAP Studios whilst building his ABANTU by Thandazani luxury brand. Collections like SITHI ABA, which dealt with identity and belonging in the diaspora, placed him as one of the 40 Emerging Creatives at Design Indaba, and one of ten hottest young designers in the Nandos Surface Print Competition. He is currently the principal creative textile collaborator for IVILI Loboya, the first African cashmere plant in Africa.
2. ARTCLUB AND FRIENDS:
Launched by Robyn Keyser, in November 2016, Artclub and Friends is a unisex label made in Cape Town, South Africa. With a team of 6 full time and 3 part time employees, Artclub and Friends is 100% youth and women owned, and is extremely passionate about creating high-quality, locally made, and affordable garments. A collective brand concept where artists collaborate and can express themselves freely, they do not gender their pieces. They have collaborated with various artists including Lunga Ntila and Ricky Rick and have also created capsule collections for Shelflife Store, Human by Nature, Orphan Street Clothing Store and Vodacom Red.
3. BLACK COFFEE
Black Coffee is the label of South African designer Jacques van der Watt. Jacques is one of the pioneers of fashion in South Africa. He was one of the initially unknown brands that collaborated in South African Fashion Week in 1999. Black Coffee has shown at South African, Cape Town, San Francisco, Berlin, and New York Fashion Weeks. It has been nominated five times for the SA Fashion Awards and has won twice (in 2001 and 2007). In 2009 it won the Mercedes Benz Art Award with an installation that was shown at the renowned Daimler contemporary gallery in Berlin.
Born in eNquthu, Kwazulu-Natal in 1992, South African fashion designer Calvin Lunga Cebekhulu was educated in Katlehong and Vosloorus after moving to the East Rand in Gauteng. In 2014, he started hand crafting his own T-shirt (dashiki) and, in 2016, he enrolled at the Art Campus for Fashion Design at the Tshwane University of Technology. His brand, Czene.24, was launched in 2018.
The Creative director of the Italian brand DROMe, Marianna Rosati, will introduce her current collection to mark the second edition of the I Ponti della Moda/Fashion Bridges collaboration between the Italian Embassy and SAFW. The project was launched in 2021 to foster collaborative partnerships between the fashion systems in South Africa and Italy.
Ephymol is a menswear fashion label launched by Soweto born, QwaQwa, Free State raised Ephraim Molingoane in 2002. Inspired by the 50’s Sophiatown, a legendary black cultural Johannesburg hub, Ephymol is known for its bold, masculine tailoring, and timeless signature.
6. ESSIE APPAREL BY ENHLE MBALI
In 2015, to provide fashionable, yet comfortable clothing for mothers-to-be, Enhle launched her maternity wear range, in South Africa and New York – a collection which sold out within weeks. Enhle Mbali’s AW23 Essie collection takes its cue from the edgy globetrotter and international jetsetter. Simple, yet exciting, fashion-forward silhouettes imagine new frontiers and are infused with her ethos of “keep moving forward to push boundaries, never stop.” The collection combines an evolution of emotional experiences, travel, and an innate passion for the arts.
7. FIKILE ZAMAGCINO SOKHULU
Fikile Sokhulu studied at Durban University of Technology, receiving a National Diploma in Fashion Design. In 2018, her achievements as a student included showcasing, for the first time, at South African Fashion Week, and being part of the Cheers Qingdao Fashion Project in China. She was also a finalist in the 2018 South African Fashion Week New Talent Search. In 2021, Fikile Sokhulu was one of four South African designers selected for the Fashion Bridges project sponsored by Camera Nazionalle della moda Italiana (Milan Fashion Week), Polimoda Firenze, Lineapelle Fair, South African Fashion Week and the Mandela Forum.
8. FRANC ELLIS
Cameroonian-born, naturalised South African citizen, fashion designer Fabrice Moyo is the director and founder of Franc Elis, which opened its doors in 2003. Known for its sophisticated and well-tailored garments and shirting, this season’s menswear collection, inspired by the French Military, depicts Franc Elis’ modern adaptation of variants of its service dress.
GUGUBYGUGU is a South African fashion brand based Gqeberha. The brand was established in 2019. Her numerous achievements include being selected as one of the top 40 South African emerging creatives class of 2018, for Design Indaba, one of the top 25 young South African creatives to watch out for, and as one of the 12 contestants on the first season of the TV series Project Runway South Africa, where she was the youngest competitor. She was a finalist in the 2020 SA Fashion Week Scouting Menswear Competition and, in 2021, spent three months learning the operations of the clothing manufacturing business, specializing in knitting. was one of three designers to represent South Africa at the biggest fashion platform in Africa, Lagos Fashion Week. The English translation for ‘GUGU’ is ‘to be proud of’, and she is working towards a legacy brand that thrives in a global competitive space.
10. MICHAEL LUDWIG STUDIO
Michael Ludwig Studio is a contemporary ready to wear brand that ignores the gender binary and focuses on the contrast between masculinity and femininity. After Michael Ludwig Hittinger graduated from LISOF with a BA in Fashion Design & Buying in 2017, he worked in the fashion industry for 3 years as a buyer, pattern maker and designer before launching his namesake brand Michael Ludwig Studio.
MUNKUS was founded, in 2019, by Thando Ntuli. MUNKUS is a contemporary trans-seasonal brand, which combines its 80’s and 90’s South African fashion influence with classic silhouettes to create a retro intergenerational style. The idea of the brand is to incorporate the history of South Africa and is an entirely local experience in youthful attire that tells a story through colours and prints. MUNKUS lies within the streets of Soweto and townships such as Gugulethu. The garments are simple yet multi-purposeful go-to pieces, for every occasion, and allows you to create layered looks by offering pieces that can be assembled in different ways or worn alone.
Rubicon, an award-winning brand, established in 2002 by Hangwani Nengovhela, is known for releasing iconic collections with impeccable design. Hangwani brings subtle African opulence to each collection.Rubicon Clothing celebrates 20 years of effortless style, form-flattering sophistication, tailored craftsmanship and timeless design. With a qualification in textile and clothing techniques, Hangwani has, for over two decades, contributed her knowledge and skills to some of South Africa’s fashion and textile industry giants.
See the full list of designers showing in April below:
THE BAM COLLECTIVE
- AMANDA LAIRD CHERRY
- ARTCLUB AND FRIENDS
- BLACK COFFEE
- FIKILE ZMAGCINO SOKHULU
- FOY BEAR
- FRANC ELIS
- HELON MELON
- LOXION KULCA
- MICHAEL LUDWIG STUDIO
- NTANDO XV
- PLJ X THE BREED
- REBIRTH SA
- REFUSE CLOTHING BRAND
- THE BAM COLLECTIVE