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Fashion, Clothing & Textiles news

Top labels bite dust, chain stores affects designers

This year has seen the closure of two prominent South African designer labels.

© Andrey Kiselev - Fotolia.com
Three months ago Tiaan Nagel announced he would be closing down his design studio and store. Now TWO, the luxury basics label, also announced its departure with a big close down sale.

TWO was established a decade ago by sisters Gina and Caren Waldman.

"In the current South African fashion climate, a locally produced luxury basics brand such as TWO can no longer continue to compete with the many cheaper imports on offer," said Caren, who is the remaining partner in the business following her sister's departure early last year.

"Rather than compromise the quality or philosophy of our brand, I feel the best option is to move on to new opportunities."

On announcing his closure, Nagel said it had became increasingly difficult for him to operate in the tough South African economy.

"I started this label in 2007. It has been a surreal rollercoaster ride full of incredible highs and amazing experiences, to not-so-fun lows," he said.

Waldman said her business had done well before shops like Zara, Topshop and Cotton On set up shop at various malls in the country, claiming most of the business that was available to designers of luxury items like herself.

"Before that, you couldn't really get these nice basics. These shops offer something similar to what I do and since they opened people have gradually moved away from shopping at the boutiques we stock," she said.

Both labels were known for showcasing at SA Fashion Week, established in 1997 by Lucilla Booyzen, who told Sowetan she believes TWO had a change of identity after the one sister's departure.

This, according to Booyzen, was detrimental to the label.

"The moment you lose a strong identity in the fashion market, that's when somebody like Zara can become your competition," she said.

As a brand, SA Fashion Week had over the years been able to create different income streams for its designers, Booyzen said.

These initiatives include Designer Capsule collections housed by giant retailers, and an online store that will be launching on Friday to sell once-off sample items from the various designers under their umbrella.

In addition to that SA Fashion Week's pop-up stores had contributed significantly as an income stream.

"The recent one at Brooklyn Mall (in Pretoria) turned over R430,000 in 19 hours of shopping," she said.

"The online store is another way of offering an extra income stream for designers."

Source: Sowetan


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