With African Fashion International’s (AFI) Joburg Fashion Week launching this evening, the East meets Africa for an Afro-Asian-themed season. This fashion set-up will see designers from China, Cambodia and Japan bringing fresh sartorial perspectives to the runway alongside a wide range of designers from across Africa. As part of the exchange, one local designer will get a chance to showcase their work at the Tokyo Fashion Week. Forget what you think you know about fashion from the East, these days designers from Africa and Asia offer a breath of fresh air to a global fashion industry dominated by Europe and America, with equally fashion-forward designs infused with unique cultural nuances. These are the designers we can’t wait to see at AFI Joburg Fashion Week
Award-winning brand and designer, David Tlale whose work has been showcased internationally and locally is known for his show-stopping gowns and expertly tailored separates with sculptural detailing and intricate applique. It is a household brand that has been widely recognized and appreciated by fashion influencers all over the world. It is a brand that defies the norm with its elegance and provocative designs.
Nao Serati, the eponymous label by young blood Neo Serati Mofammere has kept our interest over the years through challenging dress codes and gender norms. The rising designer creates unisex fashion that blurs the lines between masculinity and femininity and celebrates beauty in all forms. The risk-taking designer has stunned audiences with collections referencing the disco era in fabrications that resemble space travel and deconstructed pieces that expose the human form in places you never knew could be sexy.
Maxhosa by Laduma
Local treasure, Maxhosa by Laduma, is a label synonymous with the expression of African joy. Laduma Ngxokolo has been reminding us of the richness of local culture, artistry and craftsmanship collection after collection, creating knitwear inspired by traditional Xhosa dresses. In a recent showcase, Laduma explores classic western silhouettes merged with his signature prints in a statement on the appropriation of African culture that culminated beautifully into a lighthearted, playful collection.
Designer Oliver Weiyu Zhang is the founder of Anti Arch. In 2013, the young designer moved to New York where he studied design at the Parsons School of Design, graduating as the “designer of the year”. Zhang also studied architecture design in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. In 2017, he moved back to Shanghai where he established AntiArch. His designs are influenced by his architecture background, resulting in his signature deconstruction techniques which he merges into his aesthetic.
The label headed by Japanese designers Ena Kizawa and Taketo Nishino, takes inspiration from their travels around the world blended with their Asian heritage. The brand has previously shown collections that balance interesting juxtapositions in print and silhouettes – mixing both urban and rural references. Wearable pieces take on high-fashion twists, that should be a staple in any 21st century wardrobe.
Those who know Fassler can attest to her ability to curate shows and pieces that challenge traditional-silhouettes and presentations – this non-traditional, anti-fashion thinking is exactly what we are looking forward to seeing. Operating under the brand Leopard Frock, Fassler has found the delicate balance between ready-to-wear and avant-garde showstoppers, dressing the likes of Manthe Ribane who is known for her unique fashion and musical performance style.