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Arise Cape Town Fashion Week: innovation in recession

Arise Cape Town Fashion Week begins at the Cape Town International Convention Centre this week and innovation and resourcefulness are claimed to be the cornerstones of the industry.
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, chairperson of African Fashion International
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, chairperson of African Fashion International

With significant sponsorship deals (most noticeably a five-year agreement with Arise Magazine) and ingenious staging choices, the South African fashion community is still managing to continue to raise the bar on the spectacle that is fashion week. Does this mean that fashion in our country is recession-proof?

Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe, from African Fashion International (AFI) owners and organisers of fashion week said: “We are cognisant of the responsibility we have to the environment and the current economic climate, so we are actually placing design innovation at the forefront of our agenda this year. Overall budgets have been cut back and belts tightened, but in times of hardship I believe that innovation, the very cornerstone of our industry, will combine with resourcefulness to produce the most exciting and thrilling results - and that is often enough to inspire unexpected investment.”

Off-site showing

For the first time this year, two big designers will be part of Arise Cape Town Fashion Week, but showing off site.

The two designers will be having their shows off-site this year as a result of privately securing sponsorship investment, something which AFI has encouraged and also supports financially. Industry heavyweight Gavin Rajah will be showing his collection at the upmarket BMW Showroom, supported by the luxury brand. And red-carpet favourite Klûk CGDT will be heading out to the winelands to show its collection at Val de Vie Lifestyle and Polo Estate in Paarl on a leisurely Sunday morning. This level of opulent staging has not been seen in the industry for some years and it is encouraging that this year marks its return.


Even the designers who will continue to show at the core venue, the CTICC, have benefited from sponsorship in part secured by the Cape Town Fashion Council, which has worked to promote and nurture emerging designers in the region. This year the New Generations show has been sponsored by retail giant Foschini. Southern Sun Hotel Group has joined the summer party by sponsoring swimwear designers LoveWaterLove, Dax Martin and Tracy B.

Arise Cape Town Fashion Week hits the CTICC runway from Thursday, 20 - 23 August 2009.

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