Yani ramps it up for fashion week event

Gillian McAinsh

A PORT Elizabeth- trained fashion designer will ramp up his cutting-edge creations at South African Fashion Week in Johannesburg next month.

Nelson Mandela Metro University graduate Laz Yani, 26, showcased his label, Cutterier, under the Renault New Talent banner last season but now has his own solo show for the spring-summer collections coming up on Friday April 12. “The next collection is a follow through, focusing on travel wear that will be very versatile,” he said this week. “The fabrics are wrinkle-free, even after you have folded them up.”

His winter collection used blocks of colour and texture to highlight how women had been “boxed in by society”, he said, “while they are looking for freedom” and the first model on the catwalk carried a straw mat on her back to symbolise that journey. That range used fabrics such as viscose lycra and jacquard cut-and-sew, in mocha and ivory tones, while the summer collection will have a lighter feel.

“But it will still be versatile so, for example, you can wear an item to do yoga, then change a few accessories and go through to evening,” said Yani. “This is my FAW – For All Women – collection, as each pattern has been engineered to fit every single size from 28 to 44, maternity to athletic to plus size – every single women can wear them, as one size fits all.”

Fashion week founder Lucilla Booysen has told Yani that he may be the South African designer specialising in resort wear and he is itching to get back on the ramp.

“SAFW is the best platform to network with key industry players, including agents, buyers and media.” His love for pattern-making was born during his fashion studies, while a stint working in retail also helped him to view the process from the customer’s point of view. “I am the designer I am because of the experience I’ve had, from being a sales assistant in a clothing retail store, then a design house intern and now running the cutting-room department where I facilitate in the pattern- making, rating, marker-making and sample-making.

“I learn so much from other designers. You never know enough!”

Yani left Port Elizabeth in 2010 and transferred to the London International School of Fashion, then interned in the atelier of established designer David Tlale.

“It’s important the readers know the reality of the industry because it’s not all glitz and glam. “You need to learn and practise the basics before you can call yourself a designer.”

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