It’s Wednesday, 10 August 2016, the air is a little nippy but the buzz is hot. It’s Day 1 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ) Spring Summer 2017 Collections and the fashion crowds from across the globe have gathered at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City to bear witness to upcoming trends, fresh adaptations of African style and get a potent dose of killer street style.
First up was The Interns by David Tlale; a collection of young minds under the mentorship of Mr Tlale himself, showcasing their depth of knowledge and design creativity. There was a mixture of new and old design aesthetics, a grasping of futuristic forms and practicalities in cut and style. A majority of the Intern work included a selection of muted colourways paired with geometric symmetry. If anything, the most interesting intern from the group was Maxwell Boko – he produced a fresh, minimalist collection that featured a soft pop of blue-green silhouettes. It presented itself with an African aesthetic on an international level.
Next up was Colour by Nandi Mngoma and Inga Madyibi. A very pregnant Nandi and bold Inga put together a collection that took the colour spectrum and ran with it. A good mixture of textures and textiles, elevated by summery pops of colour and a good serving of well-cut pieces. The collection showcased African influences with continental nuances. It represented a strong, fun-loving young woman. A few pieces here and there were not finished off properly, however, in general the work was tailored and cut to fit a typical young woman’s body.
We sat VIP for the group showcase of Bulbulia Threads, Matte Nolim and Wake. Bulbulia presented a collection flavoured by the Oriental. A modern-Day Indian woman who is flirtatious and bold. Her professionalism is only countered by her feminine charm, and with strong silhouettes and a playful print at hand, the Bulbulia woman is a combination of strength and optimism with a good dash of modernity. Wake presented a well put together ready to wear collection. It took nuances from punk and skater themes with an undeniable source of feminine silhouettes to retain the lady aspects of the collection. Cuts are flowy, loose with a few silhouettes that are cinched in the waist and belted for control. The collection is reminiscent of young a adolescence with a fiery spirit. Matte Nolim presented a muted, mainly black and white collection. 70s bell-bottom inspired pants with midriff tops populated the runway. The collection was young and energetic with well cut and tailored garments.
The Fastrack segment which closed Day 1 of shows presented three young designers who partnered with local personalities in producing really high energy collections for the modern fashion lover. First up was Tayla who partnered with Minnie Dlamimi – producing an incredibly trendy all white sports luxe collection that spoke of a young woman who was independent and adventurous. One of the best looks from the collection was a sports jacket of pleated chiffon with a matching body-contouring cocktail dress – a perfect example of day into night dressing. Second in line was Chesney with DJ Zinhle. They showcased a dark sporty collection that contain plenty of street edge and modern day klout. One of the best looks from there was the reverse dress with long-sleeve shirt. A great combination of punk attitude with high-end tailoring. Last in the queue was Buda with DJ Tira. Their collection was a cool representation of the skater culture in Africa. Mixed with a pink palette and earthy greens, the collection played on texture and colour while serving style with plenty of practicality.
Essentially, Day 1 proved that the next generation of designers are to be reckoned with. They are hungry and ready to take on the industry. We bared witness to the results of a mentorship programme – proof that with more industry involvement, the greater the talent pool will become for this nation. We got a healthy dose of ready to wear with a few dreamy pieces that set tone for fashion week and we can’t wait to experience the balance of fashion week.
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Photo Credit: Rez Bonna