DFF CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF FASHION
The Durban Fashion Fair has come a long way since it launched on a rainy night at the Durban Exhibition Centre’s Coast of Dreams in 2012.
Still smarting from the loss of the iconic Durban Designer Collection, the East Coast fashion fraternity was understandably sceptical. Now, 10 years down the line, the harshest of critics have been silenced and many new names added to the still evolving Durban hall of fashion fame.
Bit by bit, the eThekwini municipality has added to the event – first, a specialist men’s fashion showing which elevated the event to that of glitzy fashion weeks in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Then, an awards evening that enabled it to recognise major contributors to what still remains a struggling local industry.
Most importantly, thanks to the input of fashion stalwarts such as Greg Wallace and Terence Bray, the DFF Mentorship Programme has become the backbone of the event and has enabled newcomers to not only hone their skills but evolve into confident professionals. The end result has been the evolution and success of brands such as Zarth, House of St Luke, Martin John Steenkamp and more.
Even industry newcomers have come a long way from those early days when skew hems, puckered seams and dangling threads were quite common. Now finishes and fits are as they should be and there is a steady stream of fashion innovation that has embraced real life fashion, catering to everything from teens to plus sizes.
This all said, the choice of the theme Reflections for this year’s event is particularly relevant. Taking place from December 15 to 17, DFF 2021 will feature some well-known names including Martin John Steenkamp, Mita-N, Duke, Karen Monk Klijnstra, Quitera, House of Alfalfa, Leigh Shubert and House of St Luke as well as a showing from the DFF Emporium and fashion design newcomers in the form of the Class of 2021 Showcase on the closing night.
But many big Durban design names are missing as is the support of the retail fraternity which, ironically, is having to rely more and more on the local clothing and footwear industries in the wake of massive global supply chain issues.
Also missing are the so-called “rest of Africa” designers who have really embraced the DFF over the years. That suggests that the slightly paired back nature of this year’s event, which features 12 shows held over the three days, is more a reflection of the times and the fall-out from the pandemic and the struggling economy than it is a suggestion of any flagging enthusiasm from the hosting municipality or designers.
Designers from across the continent cannot travel while cash strapped designers don’t have the luxury of a textile sponsor this time round.
But, despite the pitfalls of the pandemic, 2021 has come with a fair number of achievements on the part of Durban designers.
Mxolisi Luke Mkhize from House of Saint Luke has gone from his first showing as a DFF mentee to showcasing his designs in Africa while his compatriot Eli Ball from Made in Africa has wowed fashionistas on runways in Paris.
Makhosazane Ntshangase from Sistas Felas is one of many Durban designers who have dressed big names in the entertainment industry including former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, media personality Somizi Mhlongo, Ayanda Ncwane and Nonkanyiso Chonco.
This year, four DFF mentees (Nompumelelo Mjadu, Sipho Lushaba, Mbali Zulu, and Sandile Sikhakhane) became the first ever South African designers to team up with Mr Price Sport to design Team SA’s opening ceremony outfits for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The number of DFF Emporiums, which provide retail platforms for up and coming designers to sell their creations at mainstream malls has grown from one at Umlazi Mega City to three.
In the words of eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda: “(This year) not only are we able to look back on the many achievements made over the past decade, but we can also celebrate the platforms that we have created for emerging designers,” he said.
“The DFF has and will continue to provide an important platform for talent and skills development. It has already played an important role in building the Durban fashion industry which has helped us to grow the economy and create jobs,” said Mayor Kaunda.
You can support Durban’s designers and help grow the local fashion industry by attending the event. To view the DFF fashion show schedule, click on this link: https://bit.ly/3lO4Ukw
Tickets are available for R100 per show at all Boxer and Pick ‘n Pay stores as well as from www.webtickets.co.za. There are also day passes for just R250 or an all-inclusive three-day pass for R500.
Alternatively, follow on this link to purchase your ticket: https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/Event.aspx?itemid=1509820428
For more information on the DFF email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 079 626 9856 during office hours.