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Fashion development is key to industry growth - AFI
Aug '13
African Fashion International (AFI), owners and managers of the three Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks in South Africa, continues with their support of developing young design talent.

“Sustainability of the clothing and manufacturing sector in South Africa will need an infusion of local fashion talent that brings diversity and authenticity to the global fashion landscape,” says AFI Executive Chairperson, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

“Africa cannot compete with companies in the East, as they are able to produce large volumes at low cost. Where we can compete is in high value added products. We are blessed with a talent pool that can add value in design aesthetic and unique hand finish. The development of young fashion designers is vital to creating a sustainable and commercially viable industry.”

Through its development programs, AFI Fastrack and AFI Next Generation, AFI is hard at work continuing to mentor and grow the designers in these programs and is proud of the progress and achievements of these young designers. In the 2013 AFI Fastrack program, winners are in the middle of their mentorships, as organised by AFI.

Hugo Flear, known for his unique and strong use of digital prints that he designed himself, has been placed with Gabi Rosenwerth of Rosenwerth designs. Eleni Labrou, who created a collection using digital prints which she hand-painted, is learning the ropes of retail with local luxury retailer Felicity Spies, owner of EGALITY. Long-term mentoring and development enthusiast, Jenny le Roux (designer for Habits) is currently working with Alexa Liss, whose collection “Faces of Water” impressed the local fashion community.

As the final part of their prize, the three emerging designers will begin working on a final capsule collection which will be shown at MBFW Africa in October/November.

Bella Cebekhulu, AFI New Business Development Manager and head of the development programs says, “This year we saw a heightened level of talent and innovation. The capsule ranges will be testimony to the designers’ development throughout the year – each designer needs to maintain a strong level of creativity, while ensuring commercial relevance and quality.”

Kyle Boshoff, AFI Communications Officer, explains that the three winning designers are testament to the innovation in design coming out strongly in the work of younger designers. “All three designers have pushed the limits of their creativity, playing with silhouette and textiles. They really represent AFI’s theme for 2013, which is ‘Fashion, Art and Design’.” The work of the three designers will be featured in the campaign for MBFWCT 2013.

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