The Future of Fashion in South Africa

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The STADIO School of Fashion, formally known as LISOF, is one of Africa’s most renowned Fashion Design schools. With their forward-thinking approach and many years of experience, the school aims to create an ecosystem that will ensure a financially secure future for its young talents while growing the economy. 

Leonardo Snyman, Executive Head of Arts and Design at STADIO, poses the question: “How can we grow the economy as a whole by using the fashion industry to create jobs, and at the same time ensure a sustainable future for our students?” 

A study conducted in March 2020 titled Assessing the Economic Value of the Designer Fashion Sector in South Africa, led by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the South African Cotton Cluster, underpins Snyman’s determination to be an active voice within this economic sector. In this research, it became apparent that designers who form part of the clothing and textile sector in South Africa contributed approximately R1-billion to South Africa’s GDP during 2019. 

The study stated that: “The sector’s contribution to the local economy, as well as identified potential impact, positions the designer apparel sector as a key investment opportunity.” The evidence identifies a future opportunity for the expansion of the industry, in which fashion graduates can create viable careers for themselves and, in turn, support the development of the economic ecosystem. 


The STADIO School of Fashion has identified this potential and aims to continue the conversation and actively participate in the positive growth of this sector. While the country is slowly recovering from the impact of Covid-19, fashion may just be the answer to upskill, create jobs and boost the manufacturing sector into further positive growth. As a private higher education institution, the school prides itself on student centredness, local and international accreditation and its direct ties with the global fashion industry to allow competent graduates to contribute to the growth of this sector. 

According to fashion designer and former student Jacques Bam: “Collaboration is the key for any ecosystem to work.” By speaking to and creating relationships within the fashion, arts and manufacturing industries, the economic sustainability of the South African fashion industry is possible. 

On April 8 2020 the STADIO School of Fashion will be hosting an event to bring industry practitioners and school educators together to discuss the future of fashion in South Africa. This engagement aims to build a pathway towards a more significant partnership between the school and the vibrant fashion industry. This platform will allow for open communication about methods to ensure career-ready students who are appropriately prepared for the industry’s needs and prospects.

The first step in achieving these goals is creating the perfect platform to showcase the students’ work. The STADIO School of Fashion’s first-ever online fashion exhibition is presented in the form of a Look Book that will be showcased in March. A panel of judges will adjudicate the students’ work; this panel includes TV presenter Lala Hirayama, musician Tamara Dey and fashion designer Jacques Bam.  

Innovation and agility are cornerstones to survive the post-pandemic socioeconomic climate, and the STADIO School of Fashion has taken this challenge in their stride. This shift to a virtual Look Book has allowed students to debut their hard work and creative ideas with the rest of the world. It has also created a platform for the public and members of the industry to peek into the wonderful world of fashion the school has facilitated.

The winners of the STADIO School of Fashion and Design’s showcase will be announced at the event in April, giving the industry a taste of what’s in store for STADIO and the future. 

Watch this space! 

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