Through my incessant OOTD images on social media I am sure most of you realised fashion week was upon us. Mercedes Benz in connection with AFI brought some of the best and worst in local and African designs. Taking place at the Mall of Africa I truly was not expecting much- thankfully I was wrong. With regards to production and organisation this was the best MBFWJ I have been to yet. Bringing street to fashion and fashion to the masses this fashion ‘week’ ( it was three nights) made me proud. Besides it being organised and attended by some of South Africa’s wankiest people I truly enjoyed myself especially at the AFI experience.
The AFI Experience in connection with The Threaded man ( eye roll) created a sort of youth culture experience which I have never seen at past fashion weeks. Taking place right next door the glitzy, glass marquee, I found myself in a dingy parking lot packed with skateboarders, barber shops the best in hiphop beats and the most stylish street artists and designers around. This was my favourite aspect of fashion week. Special shoutout to designers Swanker and Prime Obsession for killing their runway shows. If these young designers are serving brilliance at this stage, I am very excited for South Africa’s fashion future!
Sadly 90% of the fashion was not up to par. Not only were some shows fiercely unstylish they were boring, unoriginal and lacked taste on all levels. Being the Spring/Summer collections colour was bountiful and florals were everywhere- and not always the good kind. Colours and patterns are really hard to get right and most designers got it wrong. More is not more! Just because it is SS does not mean you have to vomit the colour spectrum onto each piece. It’s called taste people, and most of our designers are lacking it in leaps and bounds. Thankfully the models were truly top notch. No matter what they were wearing they slayed that runway day in and day out.
Another rather large issue at most fashion weeks, including this one, is the styling of the ranges. Black stilettos paired with anything and everything is NOT okay. Someone please help me understand. Do the designers tell the models to bring their own pair of black stilettos? Because that is the only reason I can see as to why they are worn at every show. I would rather have the models walk barefoot in their pale, flirty dresses than have these grossly, conspicuous shoes. This is still an issue at every fashion week. We are obviously not growing and learning from past mistakes! Stilettos aside, the styling at most shows, on a whole, was horrendous.
Despite the many issues there were a few ranges that stuck out in all the right ways. Adama Paris brought all kinds of summery minimalism to our runway and I fell in love. A collection of just white, this was the most stylish ready-to-wear range. AFI Prive also solidified their names at this fashion week. Calm, cool and collected. I loved the colour palette and pyjama-like outfits. As most of you know I am all about young designers so of course David Tlale’s Intern show was very exciting. I was super impressed, especially with the growth from last years winners- Special shoutout to Ntando Ngwenya
Marianne Fassler– the show which made it all worthwhile. I’ll be straight up with you all. I used to have no regard for the Fassler brand. I believed it was the epitome of cultural appropriation ( in the day) and only suited hippies who lived in Melville in the 90’s. How wrong I was. Not only was Fassler and her team able to create truly original, South African pieces but they did so in a way which was not appropriation but appreciation. Breaking everything to its’ fundamental base and working from there, the show was a smash hit and I fell head over hills. The Fassler brand isn’t going anywhere anytime soon especially with their talented younger designers- Lezanne Viviers and Daisie Jo. These two girls are going to kill the fashion game and I cannot wait to bear witness. Marianne, thank you for introducing the fashion industry to them.
BUT and this is a very big BUT, my newly found obsession with Fassler quickly dwindled the moment I met her. I joined the Fassler team and their friends ( who are my friends) for a celebratory drink at one of the restaurants. It was not a planned event ( or so I thought, I may have been an unintentional gate crasher). We all just rocked up, took over a bunch of tables and started ordering drinks. It was lovely. I got to meet people, hear about the concepts behind the show and just take in the glory that is the end of fashion week. In walks Fassler and with one, cold whip of her hand she points to me and my friend, loudly asking ‘Wie is dit?’. No pleasantries ( however fake they may be), not even a smile. I know I am not the queen of fucking England, but I do, as a human being expect some form of basic decency. Something that that generation can learn from ours: We are all equal. Until you ‘teach’ me to treat you otherwise you are on the same level as me. Respect is earned. As the famous saying goes ‘ I was raised to treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO‘. You, Ma’am were obviously not raised in the same way.
To feel so unwelcome by someone who I just spent an hour hyping-up truly stunned me. I sat in uncomfortable silence and was actually rather heart broken. People talk about Fassler in iconic terms. I may have an issue with that now as I believe Icons have some sense of humility. Marianne, you are not solving world poverty. You are a designer, a fantastic one at that, but act accordingly. My generation does struggle with diva-like tendencies.
In conclusion, another fashion week has come and gone. I have been to worse, I have been to better. I am still as excited as ever for the future of SA fashion. We have a long road ahead but I know we will keep growing and thanks to the AFI experience I have an unbreakable faith in our young, street designers.
Simply put: Fashion= Boring. Styling=Horrendous. Models=Incredible. AFI Experience=Aspirational. People=Wanky. Ching, Ching Mutha-fuckers.