Four fashionable Port Elizabeth gents are planning on bringing style back to the city with the upcoming Nelson Mandela Bay Fashion Week next month from October 6 at the Tramways Building.
The three-day event will see 24 of some of the most creative Bay designers put their best foot forward with their latest summer/winter collections.
Organised by textile design NMMU graduate Llewellyn Williams, along with his three colleagues Siphosethu Martins, Njabulo Ntombela and Nduduzo Mjaja, the event, according to Williams, was created as a platform for Bay designers to showcase their craft and talent on a larger scale.
“The aim is to expose designers to media, potential buyers both locally and internationally. Most talented artists in Port Elizabeth end up working outside the city because they aren’t groomed or trained enough here,” Williams said.
Ntombela said the Nelson Mandela Bay Fashion Week would be in the same league as “fashion shows in Johannesburg and Cape Town”.
“The aim of the show is to remove the stigma placed on PE that we can’t handle big shows. We want to create a fashion hub here so our talent doesn’t have to relocate in order to be successful,” Ntombela said.
A day will be dedicated to designers displaying their brands on the runway and a pop-up store format will cater for potential buyers and talent scouts.
Williams said they were expecting 24 designers but only 11 had been confirmed and said they were looking for a diverse range of designers – from bridal wear, street wear, tailored and evening wear.
One of the designers, Cleo Allison, said she was very excited about doing her very first summer range.
“It’s a women-only bohemian, borderline vintage range with unconventional jewel tones, pastel colours and flowing garments with some open back dresses,” Allison, whose range is called Cleo Allison SA, said.
Also in the line-up is Sihle Soldati, whose Masoni collection will feature 12 outfits using a white-and-gold colour palette.
“My motto or saying is ‘strength, grace and class’ and this will be reflected in my garments,” Soldati said.
“The theme is energy of future and past and the collection is mainly for women because we’re forever moving and I’ve embodied futuristic elements in my cutting and binding and I’m mainly using luxury fabrics such as jacquard and velvet,” Soldati said.
Other designers include Dorianne Syce, Ergo Zen, Evans Zemba, Itumeleng Matthews, Khuzile Ndarane, Bucisiwe Sobopha, Thokrish Creations, Xolela Madlanga, Zeiciah Mhaule and Mechero.
Judges will also include the man who made former president Nelson Mandela stand out from the rest – Madiba shirt designer Sonwabile Ndamase.
Tickets are available at Computicket for R180 per person and R1 000 for VIP.
The official hashtag for the event will be #nmbfw. For more information, visit www.nmbfw.co.za.