Khayelitsha Fashion Week (KFW) never ceases to amaze. This was evident when upcoming fashion designers showcased their garments at KFW’s fourth annual fashion show in Khayelitsha at Isivivana Centre on Saturday April 27.
Under the theme, Construction Zone, more than 50 models strut out in different garments in front of a packed audience. The show is a platform which seeks to provide fashion designers and models a rare opportunity to showcase their designs and talent.
However, the core aim of this initiative was to develop, expose and prepare these upcoming designers for bigger platforms. Founder of KFW, Zuko Langeni, said through the show they wanted local brands to establish themselves and showcase their latest offerings.
He said part of their mission was to assist upcoming designers to identify their target clients, and to develop a name for themselves while developing a content marketing strategy. He said this was the only show in the Western Cape which seeks to give a platform to township and upcoming designers to show their brands.
He added that the sad reality is that many upcoming designers were frustrated because they are yearning for such platforms to exhibit their work. He noted that it was also not easy to break into the industry.
However, he said Khayelitsha Fashion show has become a much-needed stepping stone in their careers.
Mr Langeni said they discovered that a number of fashion designers were talented, but the problem was that they were working with few individuals in their own circles.
He highlighted that part of their mission was to change that notion and promote the spirit of working together and expand the circles of designers.
He said they had 17 fashion designers who were showcasing their work and others who brought their own stalls and the entry was free for models and fashion designers because their aim was not to make revenue, but to create a platform.
He added that one of the key challenges was getting sponsorship, because it was extremely difficult to host such an event out of your own pocket.
“We want to grow this event. When we started we had ten designers, but now we have grown. What we promise models and designers for now, is exposure. We hope in the future that some of these designers and models get something out of the show. We want these models to launch their careers from the show. We want their brands to be established,” he said.
Mr Langeni said among other challenges was the fact that designers had other commitments that creates some sort of communication breakdown between them.
Fashion designer, Lulama Ntise, said he had been creating clothes for himself for years and never really thought that he should create garments for other people. But he said people were always amazed by his clothes and heaped praises. The 22-year-old said he has no formal education or training in clothing and textile design but he has a passion and love for clothes.
He said he has a nine-to-five job, which helps him cover the financial costs of buying the material he needs and he sees himself beyond the limits and wants to conquer the world of fashion and such shows empower them as local designers and many of them don’t have a space and opportunity.
Model, Siphelele Qinisile, said it was important to have such events as it empowers young and local designers, as well as models, to be recognised world-wide.
Ms Qinisile said the show exposes their talent but it was just that no one was there to encourage them to show it off.
Model Olona Njengwa said this shows young people that they can pursue a career in this industry. She said as a plus-size model, it was important to be part of such shows, as it boosts their self-confidence.