SA Fashion Week SS’ 19: Interview with Waridi

Last week Waridi flew almost 14.000 Kilometers to attend South African Fashion Week for the first time. The South African fashion industry has been thriving for the past years with creative locals showing their masterpieces on and off the runway.
Soaking up every detail of the shows, Waridi tells us all about her SA Fashion Week experience.

Waridi with Anette Pringle (The Fashion Agent SA)

Waridi, can you give us some overall information on South African Fashion Week?

Fashion Week in South Africa was done very professionally on an international level. Though space wise it wasn’t as big as I expected it to be. The location was at the Sandton City Shopping Centre. On top of the 8th floor, where they put up a tent on the parking level. The site divided into two, one Space for the established designers and one for young designers that just finished school. I was asked to look at the young designers to give them some feedback and advice for the future.

What was the most inspiring thing to see?

Definitely all the shows. It was very inspiring to see the South African designers approach to modern fashion.

How many shows did you see?

All in all, I attended 16 shows in two days. Sadly I missed the fourth day which was menswear. Klipa had the most impressive show, but for me, Clive Rundle is the ‘guru’ designer. I even chose him to come to Hub of Africa as a guest designer. I think it is great to connect African designers also within Africa and give them a chance to be part of a fashion event on the other side of the continent.

How does SA Fashion Week compare to other Fashion Weeks in Africa?

I haven’t been to West Africa yet but East African Fashion Weeks are still very young, professional but young. SA Fashion Week is much more experienced and has established designers that ‘are ready’. Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Addis is much more vibrant throughout the city. You can feel Fashion Week everywhere you go, as events are taking place in different parts of the city. Also, they have a lot of young and emerging designers that come from across Africa. SA Fashion Week mainly concentrates on only South African designers and buyers.

Do you think the SA Fashion Week has a more European influence?

Yes, their way of promoting was very European, but the most significant difference is that South Africa has their own buyers who attend. So that was something great to see — African designers targeting people within their market. Addis, for example, is still developing the local buyers, which is a big challenge for them.

In general, I think that Adis Fashion Week is much more present in the city. You can feel the Energy of Fashion Week. I was expecting to feel that same Energy in Joburg but found it was much more private as it was limited to one location, where all the events were taking place. SA Fashion Week only attracted the fashion industry. I think that is a matter of PR. They’re in the business for 22 years. So people already know about it. That makes it more of an ‘intimate’ event.
Something that I see with Fashion Weeks in Africa is that they have to work on people coming to them to make them grow. They need to find a way to make people want to be a part of that experience. I don’t necessarily mean international people, but more local people.

How can African Fashion Weeks differentiate themselves from international Fashion weeks like in Berlin?

They have to develop something other Fashion Weeks haven’t developed yet. Something meaningful with a change. I think African Fashion Weeks have the potential to create awareness with sustainability and things that concern the planet. This will give the African fashion industry the possibility to be more recognised.

Waridi with Thebe Magugu

Which designers were your favourite and why?

Thebe Magugu and Clive Rundle. I also liked Amanda Laird Cherry. Her theme was stunning. She only used cotton material that gave her collection a very clean look. Also, it was interesting how she tied the clothes of the models together to symbolise a togetherness of the community.

Thebe Magugu SS’19:

Clive Rundle SS’19:

Amanda Laird Cherry SS’19:

I enjoyed and got inspired by SA Fashion Week with its great talent and overflowing creativity.