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Interview with Lucilla Booyzen

Industry Speak
Lucilla Booyzen
Lucilla Booyzen
South African Fashion Week
South African Fashion Week

South African streetwear market is quite big

South African Fashion Week (SAFW) is a B2B marketing platform for fashion, footwear, accessory and jewellery in Africa. Designers show their seasonal collections to the media, buyers and their clients. The SAFW women and men collections are presented biannually. The SA Fashion Week trade event runs parallel to the presentation of the collections and is a wholesale platform for designers to sell to boutiques and online stores nationwide. Director Lucilla Booyzen describes the fashion market in South Africa and discusses details of the trade event.

How big is the fashion market of South Africa? At what rate is it growing?

We have no formal statistics but we have around 500 active designers in South Africa, including those engaged in designing jewellery, footwear and accessories.

Which important factors are responsible for the growth of this market?

Social media, public relations generated by SAFW, growth of the middle and luxury market in the country, enhanced reputation of designers and technology are some of the factors that influence the growth of this market. The other factors are consumer awareness created through the SAFW collections, trade event and the pop-up shop we do throughout the year and improvement in workmanship and education, where SAFW is intervening through '21 Steps to Retail' programme.

What was the agenda and the key highlights of SAFW 2018?

We combined the SAFW trade event with the SAFW collections offering buyers the opportunity to visit both on the same day. We ran daily talks with national and international speakers that were aimed at getting the designer to better understand the buying processes of various departmental stores, boutiques and online stores.  The talks also addressed exports and dealing with challenges around that.

The designers collaborated with big brands. Rubicon collaborated with Appletiser with a 'Crown The Moment' collection and designer Gert-Johan Coetzee collaborated with McDonalds with a 'Big Mac 50' collection to celebrate the Big Mac turning 50.

Our collaboration with Cape Wool SA and two of our top designers Ephimol and Black Coffee was a great step forward. We ran the SAFW ladieswear collection on the first three days and followed that with the SAFW Men.  Combining the two proved to be a great success. We introduced the Mini Menswear Designer Search-a menswear talent hunt-that created a hype.

The style by SA collections by Woolworths showcased five young designers supplying Woolworths flagship stores. Their SS18 collection, a limited one, was on sale in store creating a buzz during SAFW this year.

What was the number of exhibitors and visitors at the 2018 show? Which regions did the buyers and the exhibitors come from?

Around 9,000 attended the collections. Buyers came from Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. We are still building the SAFW trade event and therefore, have curated an event with 50 designers who are already supplying to South African stores.

Which African designers have the potential to go international in a big way?

At this stage, the designers can supply limited quantities globally but as we all know, growth can take place very quickly.

What is the USP of SAFW?

Our USP lies in the uniqueness of our designs, attractive price points due to the value of the South African Rand, a contemporary unexplored market and speaking to the consumers' soul.

What can be expected at the next show? When will they be held?

The SAFW AW 2019 Collections will take place from 23-27 October this year. We are not sure about the trends yet, but the South African streetwear market is quite big. We will organise the SAFW new talent search and the SAFW Cape Wool SA designer challenge. We will also organise the student competition in which SAFW collaborates with 32 colleges in the country. We are celebrating 21 years of the business of fashion and we are doing a book and an exhibition that will run parallel with the collections. (HO)
Published on: 24/09/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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