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KZN designs slay at Africa Fashion Week London

2023-11-13 10:09:12

KwaZulu-Natal designs were all the rage at the Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL), said to be Europe’s largest fashion event promoting African and African-inspired design talent.

Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), with support from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Transnet Port Terminal, facilitated the participation of 12 proudly KZN emerging fashion and accessory designers for three days of runway shows, exhibitions and business development programmes, from 27 to 29 October.

 Welcoming the designers back to South Africa this week Sihle Ngcamu, TIKZN Acting CEO said such outward missions not only afforded them the opportunity to directly market their products to overseas markets but also to showcase artistry inspired by the different cultures that call KZN home. "I don’t need to convince anyone about the bankability of fashion. The industry’s revenue is forecast to exceed R1.7 trillion this year and African fashion is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. TIKZN has quite a few designers working with the Export Development and Promotion Unit, to assist them to become export ready, take them on outbound missions such as the Africa Fashion Week London to expose them to opportunities to make business connections," said Ngcamu.

TIKZN organised for the designers to showcase their pieces on the catwalk, exposing them to London and global fashion buyers and experts. In the exhibition space, they were able to sell their products and interact with potential customers and gauge first-hand what the market is most interested in. "The ultimate goal is for them to come back having made concrete partnerships or secured deals," added Ngcamu.

He said he was particularly excited that this year’s trip had seen one of the designers Senzeni Silungile Mokoena of Slu by Sluvin, walk away with an award for Excellence in Fashion at the Black History and Lifestyle Gala Dinner, held as part of AFWL.

An excited Mokoena dedicated her award to the Sluvin Designs team, who worked behind the scenes to take the brand  to such heights as to be recognised in one of the fashion capitals of the world. "I owe my success to my family who believed in my brand and allowed me the time to grow it.  My goal is to continue telling my African story through art," said Mokoena.

 Read more on her win here: https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/local-designer-scoops-international-award-ff91b9fe-0dbc-4aa7-8d33-06e5b0c879fe?fbclid=IwAR2vC2KMPGqq0EYtA2riX32Y0TsY57XMs0pC1X3kpuyDX8AzVpV2nhJCBZw

Mokoena is one of 10 entrepreneurs who are part of the Transnet Port Terminal Enterprise Development Program developed and implemented by TIKZN. This three-year partnership will see the emerging exporters undergo training to familiarise them with the business of export through which they will also be mentored. This will be complemented with support to access both local and international markets. So far this year beneficiaries have been supported to exhibit, market and sell their products at trade shows in countries including Mozambique, Rwanda and Turkey. They also receive technical and capital equipment support through the programme.

In a decade of giving a voice and representation to African fashion outside of Africa, AFWL has recorded hosting more than 800 emerging designers and exhibitors from Africa, and almost seventy thousand 70 000 buyers, retailers, influential industry professionals and the media. 


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