Despite its cold, half-empty and late start, the first Mandela Bay Fashion Week held at the Tramways Building in the Baakens Valley from October 6-8 is a promising addition to the city’s style calendar. A dozen emerging designers and national fashion retailer The Space presented collections each night, interspersed with music by Zoe Mtila, Vuyiseka Love-Child Maguga as well as giveaways and talks.
The Tramways was also the venue for pop-up shops selling imported and local fashion, and an open microphone session on Saturday afternoon.
Final year auditing student Siposethu Martins – one of the four organisers – said the team was already starting to plan the next event for spring 2017.
“We are very happy as there were a lot of people who said we couldn’t do it,” he said yesterday while admitting a few first-time glitches.
“It was the first time and we were inexperienced – we got complaints that it was cold and there was no alcohol, but we’re getting good feedback.”
Sonja Tifloen, a director of BLC Attorneys, which was among the sponsors of NMBFW, was one of many excited about the concept.
“I think it was amazing for our economy and fashion and, from our side [BLC Attorneys] we would like to be involved again next year,” Tifloen said.
She said although there was room for improvement, she wanted to congratulate the organisers, because “at least they had the guts to start it”.
Each night fashion industry insiders, including the creator of the Madiba shirt Sonwabile Ndamase, and Kyle Boshoff, former head of buying for AFI, gave a brief address before a bevy of models took to the catwalk in designs by Bay talents.
Designers included Tina Ngxokolo – who opened the event on Thursday – Cleo Allison, Thando Piliso, Itu Originals, Mechero, Rufain Wentzel, Ergo Zen and others.
Although most ranges were for women, Wentzel was an audience favourite for his racy red underwear worn by male models.
Itu Originals designer Itumeleng Matthews used Basotho blankets in his menswear range, which included an innovative backpack featuring the number plate from his first car.
The Space at Baywest Mall will stock the ranges of two designers: Ergo Zen by Nozuko Ngcizela and Mechero by Busisiwe Sobopha.