South African fashion designers Carina Louw and Natasha Jaume, founders of Erre Fashion, will be heading off to Paris to participate in the inaugural Africa Fashion Up show this September.
Erre Fashion has been invited by Share Africa, in partnership with luxury fashion conglomerate Kering (owners of Balenciaga and Gucci), to feature in the showcase of African design.
The Africa Fashion Up project forms part of a wider initiative by Share Africa. The aim of the project is to introduce the world of fashion to some of Africa’s best creatives whose brands and ethos are on par with the quality expected to be seen on the main fashion runways. Only five brands across the continent were chosen, with Erre being the only South African to make the cut.
Refined power dressing
The local design duo will showcase a collection entitled ‘Home’ in Paris on 17 September this year, ahead of Paris Fashion Week. In the run-up to the show, which will take place at the legendary Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild in the heart of the fashion capital, Louw and Jaume will also participate in a workshop hosted by Balenciaga, to which they have been specifically invited.
“It is an extraordinary privilege to be invited to be part of this project. The opportunity to take our brand and share it with the world is incredible and we are excited to present a collection that embodies our spirit as a people, and a new world order in refined power dressing for women,” says Louw.
Erre (pronounced 'Air') was launched in 2013 by Louw and Jaume, former fashion lecturers, who have now turned their eye for detail into a business success story. Taking their inspiration from the rich cultural tapestry of the African continent on their many travels, Erre has formed a reputation for its redefined and refined power-dressing silhouettes that envelope all body shapes and sizes.
On the collection they will be showing in Paris, Louw says: “Home is where we have all rooted ourselves over the past 18-months or so. We could choose to cocoon ourselves or spend the time opening our eyes to the inspiration all around us, which is what we did and what we hope we have captured in this collection.”
Jaume elaborates: “With this collection we wanted Home to remain true to our core yet embody the inherent resilience and humour of South Africans in facing the odds thrown at them.”
“We have also drawn on our unique floral heritage to inform our bright colour palette for this collection, which is also a symbol of promise for brighter beginnings and a celebration of our ‘Mbokodos
’ (rock solid in isiXhosa) women of South Africa. As always, our garments will be beautifully constructed technical pieces that provide strong statements for women of courage and hope,” she says.
Ambassadors for local mohair
The SA luxury brand is also an ambassador for locally-sourced mohair, a signature of its seasonal offerings, and something that caught the eye of the Africa Fashion Up team.
Jaume explains: “Mohair is used by many of the top brands worldwide, but few know it originates in South Africa, so Africa Fashion Up is also a chance to remind people that not only does South Africa have a wealth of talent, it also has desirable resources that are sustainable.”
“For a fashion designer, mohair is magic – a beautiful tactile natural fibre that we can twist, bend, mould, contour and knit into any shape we please. A natural fibre that is super comfortable to wear and sustainable. But it was only after taking a road trip in the Karoo in 2019 with Mohair South Africa we truly realised how important this fibre is for South Africa and its ability to generate jobs and boost the economy,” states Louw.