Cape Town Fashion Week’s rousing success raises South Africa’s international fashion stature
The fact that Cape Town has been shortlisted as one of three cities to be named as World Design Capital 2014 is evidence that the city has what it takes - Bryan Ramkilawan, CEO, Cape Town Fashion Council
TABLE MOUNTAIN, Boulders Beach, Robben Island, Camps Bay, Bo-Kaap... Cape Town Fashion Week. It may not have the stature of New York, Milan, Paris or London just yet, but ask anyone that attended one of the shows at the Cape Town Fashion Week, held this week from 13 – 16 July 2011, and they will tell you that attending a show at the Mother City’s premier fashion event is an experience to add to any traveller, or local’s, must-do list.
Unlike fashion weeks in the more established fashion capitals of the world, where attending the shows is strictly reserved for the fashion elite – buyers, media and A-list celebrities, the Cape Town Fashion Week allows anyone, fashion guru or not, to, even just for a night, be let into the world of the buzzing fashion scene in Cape Town.
That’s not to say, however, that the fashion elite and celebrities didn’t descend on Cape Town Fashion Week in numbers as model and businesswoman Kimora Lee Simmons and her Hollywood actor husband Djimon Hounsou, occupied front row seats, while celebrity E! Entertainment plastic surgeon, Dr Robert Rey, also brought star quality to the show as he showcased his saucy LingeREY range at Cape Town Fashion Week to excited audiences. This week’s shows attracted considerable media interest, with the international media delegation including a team from China’s Cosmopolitan Magazine and Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paolo national newspaper.
“There’s good reason Cape Town is always named as a leading city in the world to visit and has been named the best destination in the world by leading travel website TripAdvisor. Not only does it have arguably the best backdrop and beaches of a city in the world and infinite food, wine and adventure experiences, but it is also fast setting itself apart as a destination for lovers of fashion, design, music and art, with events like the Cape Town Fashion Week offering visitors and locals alike an opportunity to experience fashion talent of global distinction,” says South African Tourism CEO Thandiwe January-Mclean.
January-Mclean said South African Tourism’s partnership with African Fashion International, owners and organisers of the country’s premium fashion weeks (Joburg Fashion Week, Africa Fashion Week and Cape Town Fashion Week), had considerably helped to promote and showcase an industry that brings so much colour, texture and style to South Africa’s destination offering. Cape Town is already a leading destination for the global film and advertising industry and fashion is a natural progression.
South African cities are certainly beginning to make their mark on the global fashion stage. Last year Cape Town and Johannesburg both made it onto the Global Language Monitor list of the Top 30 Fashion Capitals of the World for the first time, coming in at 23 and 25 respectively, sandwiched between the undeniably fashionable cities of Rome, Buenos Aires and Prague.
“Events like Cape Town Fashion Week have certainly helped to raise the profile of the city and country in the local and international fashion arena and help enhance the country’s qualities as a global lifestyle and design destination. Fashion Week not only gives our designers an opportunity to make a commercial success of their talents, but the media, buyers and fashion followers that it attracts from around the country, continent and the world bring tourism revenue to the city and positive international exposure,” says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Chairman of African Fashion International.
In the past five years since the inception of African Fashion International, it is estimated that 250 000 visitors have attended AFI fashion weeks and accounted for more than R45 million in spend.
The shows at this year’s fashion week, held at venues around the city, were ablaze with colour, sophistication and energy as designers, both established and up and coming, introduced their 2011/2012 spring and summer collections to an excitable audience and to much acclaim. Fashion Director of Cosmopolitan China, Liu Yuewei, whose team covered the shows and shot on location in Cape Town during Fashion Week, was hugely impressed by what the city – and its fashion industry - had to offer.
“Cape Town is a city filled with mystery. It has a combination of nature, modern buildings and tradition that you can’t see anywhere else. The fashion is special and unique and not similar to what I have experienced in other places,” says Yuewei.
And a glitzy, successful Fashion Week has undoubtedly supported Cape Town’s bid to become the 2014 World Design Capital. The title is awarded bi-annually by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to give global prominence to cities that use design for their social, economic and cultural upliftment. Cape Town is up against Bilbao (Spain) and Dublin (Ireland) with the successful city to be announced in October this year.
“The fact that Cape Town has been shortlisted as one of three cities to be named as World Design Capital 2014 is evidence that the city has what it takes to be taken seriously as a fashion capital of the future,” believes Bryan Ramkilawan, CEO of the Cape Town Fashion Council.
For further details and a wrap of Cape Town Fashion Week go to http://www.afisa.co.za/.
For further information contact
Jermaine Craig at South African Tourism
Tel: +27 11 895 3000 or 083 201 0121
Allison MacDonald at Ireland Davenport
Tel: +27 11 463 2252 or 082 771 2541
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