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Menswear range to be launched at SSAFW in Aug
Feb '08
Nothing vindicates the Sanlam SA Fashion Week vision of a vibrant designer industry capable of substituting imports locally and wowing international markets internationally, more than designers nurtured over the past twelve years ripping through the silk ceiling to secure a commercial foothold whilst remaining true to their cutting-edge instincts.

Jacques van der Watt, now with partner Danica Lepen, whose Black Coffee collections have enthralled successive SSAFW audiences since 1997, is making impressive progress with their off-shore retail network.

The creative duo's piéce de resistance, 20-options skirt/dress, secured them a presence in über cool Zagreb concept store, Viktor, along side iconic ranges such as Comme de Garcon, Issy Miyake and the Antwerp 6 and is a great addition to their existing Stricker & Strauss in London and Shwe Shwe in Melbourne, portfolio.

Having scooped the inaugural True Love SA Fashion Awards late last year, they are currently jostling for position with another SSAFW stalwart, Karen Ter Morshuizen of Lunar, and eight other finalists, for the 2008 Visi Designer of the Year award.

The Visi Awards celebrate exceptional home-grown designers ranging from architects to furniture and interior designers and are particularly coveted by the industry as contenders are nominated by peer panels.

Abigail Betz too, has received an unequivocal vote of confidence with investor Maria Dracatos recently buying a substantial stake in the Abigail Betz House of Couture. Plans are already in motion to open a signature store in Rosebank, Johannesburg, that will stock Abigail's ready-to-wear couture, bridal dresses and beauty products as well as provide a service for custom-made wedding dresses. A menswear range, aimed at the sophisticated male consumer, will be launched at the SSAFW Summer 08/09 Collections in August.

Since winning the 2007 SSAFW Elle New Talent competition, Tiaan Nagel has invested his winnings in an industrial sewing machine, employed a seamstress and opened a studio in Doornfontein.

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