SAFW 2020 will be virtual this year. Image supplied

Countdown to virtual SA Fashion Week: What you need to know

Africa’s first digital fashion week is ready to rock the virtual ramp from 22 to 24 October when SAFW presents 27 collections online.


SAFW 2020 will be virtual this year. Image supplied

Big names like Gert-Johan Coetzee, Mantsho, Rubicon and Ephymol will show at the South African Fashion Week alongside new (and some not-so-new) kids on the fashion block in the TenTwentyTwenty Collections.

Unlike previous years, the SS20/21 collections on the streaming programme will not focus on one season, but incorporate garments to suit cool and warm weather.

Trans-seasonal approach

SAFW director Lucilla Booyzen said this trans-seasonal approach was in line with international trends.

And, although the main event is virtual, SAFW still will include a real-life Trade Show at the Mall of Africa in Midrand from November, followed by a pop-up shop.

According to Booyzen, fashion designers needed to show their collections ahead of the next season.

“The designer community is predominantly SMMEs. They all employ small contingents of artisans, such as seamstresses and pattern makers,” Booyzen said. 

“It has been a superhuman challenge for these businesses to stay afloat and retain jobs in the absence of any trade or cash flows. This opportunity to showcase their collections in preparation for summer is vital.”

She said the real-life and online hybrid enabled the industry to do business effectively while “being highly mindful of the safety aspects associated with the pandemic”.

SAFW and the business of fashion

In past years, SAFW’s tagline was “the business of fashion” and this has now changed to “the business of ethical fashion”.

“The move toward cleaner fashion production in South Africa still faces many challenges,” said Booyzen. There is a very real commitment from many designers to pursue this very necessary transition to a new fashion order.”

The style doyenne said the collections are also increasingly show the move towards a “slow fashion” ethos of timeless design and sustainable production.

“SAFW is facilitating greater collaboration between designers and downstream value chain through our partnerships with others. These include the South African mohair cluster and Cape Wools SA as well as weavers and knitters.”

It will also feature the finalists of the Scouting Menswear Competition and the Diamond Fibre Collections.

SAFW is hosting the TenTwentyTwenty Collections in partnership with the Mall of Africa and Vodacom Red. 

Buy direct from designer at SAFW pop-up shop

After the October virtual collections, the SAFW Trade Show will feature the work of 50 designers at the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa from 1 to 3 November. 

Menswear and womenswear will be on display, as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewellery and millinery.

SAFW will host a pop-up shop in the mall from 27 to 29 November. At this, fashion lovers will be able to interact and buy directly from participating designers.

As the only business-to-business platform in Africa, SAFW markets the designer collections to the buyers, media, celebrities and the designer bespoke clients.

Tickets for SAFW are on sale at Computicket.