AFI News’ Portrait of a Designer – Thula Sindi

November 19, 2009 at 7:54 am (Fashion News and Updates of Designers)

Picture by Simon Deiner

Written By AFI(African Fashion International)

Every month AFI News poses the same, exclusive set of questions, to one of South Africa’s most exciting design talents. This month designer Thula Sindi discusses sombre moods, getting to know him and chicken heads.

1. When designing a collection, my reference/point of departure is always…. clothing itself. I design “clothes about clothes”, either tweaking them by manipulating darts and panels or experimenting with fabrics and details. For this season my focus was on colour how to use it in a way that was summery and light but still modern, sophisticated and wearable especially during the day.

2. My latest collection is a story about… a glimpse of a woman who is slightly jaded by life but still manages to be optimistic at the same time. Her taste is impeccable and every inch of her groomed in an effortless way.

3. The most innovative thing about my last collection… are the two charcoal grey cotton knit dresses. They are meticulously draped and hand tacked and took tens of hours to create and finalise, but it resulted in effortless and unexpected beauty. It was like turning matte grey into the proverbial gold.

 4. I understand quality in fashion to be…the search for excellence in standards through the entire value chain of the garment – from design/conceptualisation, fabrication, fit and garment assembly all the way to store display, customer service and wear/care.

5. The next steps that I will be taking to continue my development are…continue to grow my business organically whist searching for outlets that fit into my business structure and style. There is lots on the go at the moment.

6. South African fashion design is defined by…very different points of view.

7. I collaborate with… no one really. I still have so much to say that there is no need to collaborate so early in the game. People still need to get to know who THULA SINDI is. The closest I get to collaboration is with Mary Reynolds of Tramps productions. We work really closely when it comes to producing my shows and with Martin Myers who knows how to use music to convey the emotion to the audience. They really understand my point of view.

 8. In a tough economic climate my customers… think more closely about what they are buying.

9. The last time I laughed really hard it was because… I explained to my assistant Bonolo that a chicken’s head (a local delicacy in Klerksdorp) is called an AYAS. She looked so appalled that I even knew that. I realised we definitely from different generations.

10. I want to become known as… a woman’s best friend and secret weapon, offering beautiful fashion solutions and bringing real value back to designer clothing.

For more information on Thula Sindi, email him on:


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The two worlds of SA fashion

October 29, 2009 at 10:27 am (Fashion News and Updates)

African Mosaique

By Modise Mphuthi

South African fashion has grown rapidly for the past few years. It has turned to business nowadays with a lot of investors coming on board to be part of this multi – billion industry. It has become one of the major players in the countries’ GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is the measure of economic growth in South Africa. This year we saw the inception of Arise Africa Fashion Week to the fashion weeks owned by African Fashion International which is aimed at showcasing African Designers to the global fashion stage. Also the SA Fashion Week introduced the regional collections earlier this year to help grow designers in the Western Cape and Kwa Zulu Natal respectively. African Fashion International (AFI) founded, owns and operates Cape Town Fashion Week, Durban Fashion Week, Audi Joburg Fashion Week (Autumn/Winter) and Joburg Fashion Week (Spring/Summer).AFI also owns and recently founded the continent’s African Fashion Week representing all African nations, and the African Fashion Awards which recognises and rewards achievement and success in the African fashion industry. AFI is spearheaded by Chairperson, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe. AFI has grown tremendously as a company that is on the forefront of South African fashion. We saw David Tlale winning to showcase at the New York Fashion Week in September this year and that shows how determined AFI is to grow fashion in Africa. South African Fashion Week is one of the very successful fashion weeks in this country. They showcase two fashion weeks in a year which are their winter collections and summer collections, recently regional collections were added into their entities. They are more consumer appealing compared to AFI, they have an exhibition on their summer/spring collections which has been a driving force behind its successes. The exhibition is the drive to get consumers buying directly from the runway which is the first of its kind in the world. This year they had more than three hundred exhibitors showcasing their garments, crafts and designer bags. They also have crafts and embroidery projects which helps the crafters from all nine provinces in South Africa to get exposure and grow their brands. SA Fashion week is indeed a business of fashion. They have been around for more than a decade and they have grown remarkably. In every business there is always a conspiracy and both African Fashion International and SA Fashion Week are operating in two worlds. The conspiracy between these two powerhouses of fashion has affected the image of South African fashion. If these two bodies can work together we will see a broader sustainability and growth within South African fashion industry. Lucille Boyzen and Precious Moloi – Motsepe have to work together in the interest of growth and long term sustainability of South African fashion industry. South African fashion needs collective efforts to grow said Boyzen, Director and founder of SA Fashion Week. The efforts starts with a consumer to purchase local garments from our designers and us to give them quality they deserve, she added. The pride I felt when I heard people talking about ARISE Africa Fashion Week so positively and the warmth of the reception that I got, was incredibly motivational said Moloi – Motsepe. She added that “I see this as such an optimistic milestone for Africa – something successful by Africans for Africa. We have for so long been an inspiration for people across the globe, and now we are living up to our promise and reclaiming our heritage and voice and creativity for ourselves” The collective efforts to grow SA Fashion lies on Precious Moloi – Motsepe (Chairperson of AFI) and Lucille Boyzen , Director of SA Fashion Week. They both can change the industry to grow and be the world hub of fashion.

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Audi Joburg Fashion Week, Autumn/Winter 2010

October 17, 2009 at 8:36 am (Fashion News and Updates)


Written By African Fashion International

Autumn/Winter 2010 Collections will grace the catwalk as the annual Audi Joburg Fashion Week returns for the fourth year at Johannesburg ’s Sandton Convention Centre from 20 – 23 January 2010. The four day fashion showcase features the nation’s best designers unveiling their creative forecast of the season’s trends, to a global audience of media, fashion buyers, and fashion consumers.This visual feast will grant attendees a sneak preview into the upcoming season.Tickets to Audi Joburg Winter Fashion Week are available from Computicket www.computicket.comFor more information, full show schedules and highlights from previous winter collections go to

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African Fashion International on Cancer Awareness

October 8, 2009 at 6:24 am (Fashion News and Updates)

Africa Fashion Week 2009

Written By AFI
Our goal is to raise awareness and share vital information regarding breast cancer and cervical cancer prevention. Early detection and treatment can save lives.

Last year we had some fantastic results from this campaign.  Hip Hop designed a very beautiful t-shirt that sold extremely well.  As a result nearly 600 women have been able to be screened in the past few months with the newly acquired state of the art digital Mammogram Unit and supporting Educational Unit from CMF.  Continuing at this rate, thousands of women will benefit from the simple act of you buying a stylish designer t-shirt by this time next year.

For more information visit

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AFI News’ Portrait of a Designer – Cari Stephenson of Tart

October 8, 2009 at 6:17 am (Fashion News and Updates)


Picture By Simon Deiner

Written By AFI

Every month AFI News poses the same, exclusive set of questions, to one of South Africa’s most exciting design talents. This month, after being one of the favourites from ARISE Cape Town Fashion Week, Cari Stephenson discusses the South of France, single seam construction and her latest collection with AFI News.

1. When designing a collection, my point of departure is always… practicality first – with lifestyle in mind. The ‘Tart’ look always incorporates aspects of sports wear and utility and I like to apply these from different perspectives. Affordability without compromising style is key to my brand.

2. My latest collection is a story about…the ultimate summer holiday wardrobe. It takes you from day to night and everything in between. This is true whether the destination is the south of France or your back garden.
3. The most innovative thing about my last collection… the use of colour and the further exploration of the jumpsuit – which in my view is the  new ‘it’ dress this season  – mostly for its “put on and go” appeal. I’ve also introduced a more sophisticated side to the label in terms of my design and construction with a single piece of fabric being used in some dresses to reduce lines and increase flow and drape.

4. I understand quality in fashion to be… clothing you really want to (and can) live in, not just for one given season. Quality garments are pieces that move and breathe with you and let you get on with life while reflecting who you are.
5. The next steps that I will be taking to continue my development are… first, finding full-time help in the form of an assistant. And then second, really working hard to broaden my knowledge in relation to textiles and the sourcing thereof.

6. South African fashion design is defined by… South Africans and the environment we live in. We are a very creative nation, and everything around us informs fashion design – from the design itself and the raw materials available, to the people who make it and ultimately the consumers – who will always put their own personal spin on a look.
7. I collaborate with… like-minded individuals who are as passionate about this industry as I am.

8. In a tough economic climate my customers… are king. It’s crucial to listen to customer feedback and have a feeling for what it is they need so that you can provide it for them.

9. The last time I laughed really hard it was… at the people around me who kept me sane.
10. I want to become known as… the go-to label for effortless style and comfort.

Tart is available at The Space stores around the country.

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Sanlam Pull the plug on SA Fashion Week

October 2, 2009 at 9:11 am (Fashion News and Updates)



By Jacquie Myburgh (The Times Live) More information

On a totally different topic, in my last column I professed to finally “getting” Sanlam’s sponsorship of SA Fashion Week.

The influence of a financial services company was pushing the designers to start thinking financially as well as creatively.

Plus, the association with the cool and trendy world of fashion was working wonders for the stuffy old Sanlam brand.

I was too late. Sadly for both parties, Sanlam has decided to abandon the fashion ship — and all the promises to develop South African fashion — and is sticking to golf sponsorship for the foreseeable future.

Simple as that.

Considering the SAFW deal cost them just short of R5-million a year, and their ROI was publicity amounting to more than R100-million plus an image makeover, I wonder who’s doing the sums.

The cynics would say that Sanlam vice chairman Patrice Motsepe, who also sits on the board of African Fashion International (SAFW’s competitor), put his foot down.

Surely this can’t be so.

Or could it?

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SA Fashion Week was a huge success

September 22, 2009 at 10:42 am (Fashion News and Updates)

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Pictures by Simon Deiner (Abigail Betz , Ephymol and Two- SA Fashion Week  2009/10 collections)

By Modise Mphuthi

The SA Fashion week was a huge sucess starting with Elle New Talent show.The designs were on par from quality to market appeal.The quality of our designers garments is improving every year.I can savely say that we are ready to give New York and Paris Fashion week the run for thier money. The ephymol’s show was breath taking and also Abigail Betz took a new turn to her women range.The south african fashion weeks is still under a dark cloud compared to the new york and paris.It is in our hands as south africans to change all of that.I believe if we buy more local clothes the quality of our designs will improve.The fashion/clothes from paris and new york fashion week are all over the world because we have a perception that only overseas designers can produce quality.It took a long time for them to be established brands but us as south africans we owe it to ourselves to embrace local designs.We have to embrace them by wearing and talking about them.The word of mouth is one of the powerful tool to market our designers as south africans.If we can talk and embrace our local designs we can help our designers to be known brands all over the world.Let us all try and have at least one local garment in our closets!

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Amazing handmade jewellery by Kristen Malan

September 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm (Fashion News and Updates)

Little red and black Swazi lucky beans, huge glittering gems from india, wooden beads and pearls all find thier way into the gloriously detailed jewellery by internationally acclaimed award winning art – director and jewellery designer Kristen Malan. Every piece on her collection is amazing and each and every is handmade. She uses gold, silver gemstones and natural material to design her jewellery. She was the finalist for the AngloGold Auditions 2009 competition.

For more information about her jewellery designs Call 011 888 3282 or email

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Ephymol is the fastest growing clothing brand in South Africa

September 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm (Fashion News and Updates)



Written by Modise Mphuthi

Ephymol is more than a brand of clothing but a motion centred brand.I believe the label represents the real feel of chic meet afrocentric influence.The show was amazing and everybody who was watching the brand’s show enjoyed it.The cut on the garments were well tailored and atticulately done. Ephraim have proven that he mean business on his designs. I believe it is the label that every man in this country can wear and be proud to be a south african.It is a brand that we can all be proud of as south africans.The label is been in the industry for few years but it looks like they been around for decades.I believe it is going to be the best label and the most innovative brand in years to come.If our people/consumers in this country can realise the importance of supporting local brands then our designers can grow to be big names around the world.Ephymol’s brand is the proof of the fast growing clothing brand of our generation.Let us all embrace and support local designers.

For more information visit

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Xhosa inspired designs with an african feel

September 18, 2009 at 2:23 pm (Fashion News and Updates)

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Picture By Simon Deiner

Written By Modise Mphuthi

Sokhana Nqabeni is a young woman from Port Elizabeth with a creative thoughts in design. She’s been designing for more than two year. Her target market is both men and women of all ages. She started in PE but now based in Johannesburg, Sandton. She is inspired by her xhosa roots on her designs. Her designs are bags, dresses and mens wear. She desribes her brand as “Unique tailor made with a cultural xhosa twist” She is one of the unique designers I met in a long time. Her designs are going to big in years to come.She is original and her designs have the african feel.

For more information go to or email

Call 011 444 7669 or cell 0834303099

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