Art and Design

Fashion Week: What it all really means

Mahlatse James

Mahlatse James looks back on Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town and what the future holds for the young designers featured this year.

Mahlatse James looks back on Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town and what the future holds for the young designers featured this year. (Gary Stemmett/SDR Photo)

There is something disconcerting about discussing a four-day fair of fashion. After what felt like an eternal occurrence carefully arranged to celebrate the state of local fashion on three levels, this year's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town came to a close and questions following up were in wonder regarding what would happen next? What becomes of the young designers teeming with inspiration? Was it worth all the relationships formed with corporate structures?

Here is what will happen next:

Having an opportunity to showcase a full collection on the main runway must be the most exciting feeling ever for every designer. After spending months conceptualising a creative process, physically creating garments and presenting one's line for all of 15 minutes, there should be a post-show plan that meets the bottom-line to all this.

A few designers often get invited to have some of their items curated in a showroom where buyers and retail representatives have a first-hand contact with the clothing and establish contact with a grand hope to form a relationship. Some designers are fortunate enough to be able to have grown a financial muscle of their own and are able to trade on their own.

The young ones are equipped.

The great thing about an active industry, is that most young designers have a more than enough go-to sources for inspiration and when allowed get to learn a great deal about creating that much needed balance between creativity and business. One of the very important factors advised at the FT Seminar Series was the need to partake in an internship of sorts or for keen designers to avail themselves for exposure.

"This groundwork has something of an interweave effect," says Gabi Rosenwerth, head designer of the Rosenwerth label. "As much as it is advisable that the younger creative needs to learn proper base elements and receive grooming from reputable brands, legendary designer labels also require newer, well-informed links to keep reinventing their brands and hopefully penetrate newer markets. It's a win-win for both parties".

Fashion goes beyond clothes.

Truth be told; the fashion industry would hardly subsist if creative geniuses were not met with salutation brought in by enthusiastic corporate make-ups and valuable sponsorships. Establishing these partnerships helps strengthen significance respectively within industries. Thus is the case with Africa Fashion International having teamed up with luxury Mercedes-Benz, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and the City of Cape Town among many. All these sponsorships share a great love for local fashion and have found a way to form synergies that seem benefit them equally.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town 2012 has met its key objectives which included celebrating City of Cape Town's 10 years long relationship with exhibiting local legends of fashion, providing younger designers with a platform to showcase their creativity and an opportunity to learn great business skills.

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