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Newtown Junction played host to glitzy and stylish 22nd Annual Vukani Fashion Awards on November 26.
The 2016 Annual Vukani! Fashion Awards saw the catwalk ablaze with creativity, flair and a deep love of culture and couture this past weekend. On 26 November 2016, 10 student and emerging designers brought their interpretations of this year’s theme Genesis: Ancient Beginnings, New Creations to Newtown Junction Mall. Glitzy and stylish, it was an evening of inspiration and innovation.
History has a wonderful way of providing an anchor for us in the present while shining a light on possibilities for the future. The 10 emerging designers, selected from each of the provinces, were tasked with creating a global, new identity for the African while bridging the period of Genesis, i.e. the birth of the world and civilisation.
Now in its 22nd year, the Annual Vukani! Fashion Awards has been at the forefront of South Africa’s fashion artistry since democracy. Hosted by the South African Fashion Designers Agency (SAFDA), the organisation prides itself on offering this portal through which many young designers have launched their careers. Embracing inclusivity, SAFDA promote excellence and innovation in the South African fashion industry. The Awards are designed to showcase emerging designers and trends, while stimulating creative competition in the industry. Eminent designers who have launched their careers through this competition include David Tlale, Gert Johan Coetzee and Asanda Madyibe, to name but a few.
This year the 10 gifted designers were Thabiso Xhaya (North West Province), Busisiwe Sobopha (Eastern Cape), Lindiwe Makoyi (Free State), Mzukisi Mbane (Western Cape), Nozuko Ngcizela (Eastern Cape), Peggy Magasela (KZN) and Tshukudu Pasha, Azaria Khoza, Gavaza Mthombeni, and Mapule Chauke, all from Gauteng.
Each designer was invited to present six outfits in total: one outfit in the culturally exciting Heritage Collection, which was won by Gavaza Mthombeni, one outfit in the High Street Collection, won by Nozuko Ngcizela, and four outfits in the lighter Ready-to-Wear Collection, won overall by Mzukisi Mbane. Each of the designs had to capture the essence of the theme, while demonstrating an understanding of the intrinsic role of heritage. Innovation was celebrated and uniqueness and technical excellence lauded. This year’s designers showed real flair for the theme with creations that were beautiful, exciting, and rich in cultural nuance.
The designers were paired with upcoming stylists, who created a corresponding hair creation and were entered into the L’Oréal Golden Scissors Hair-itage Competition.
SAFDA hopes that through these awards it will be able to encourage the creation of an African fashion and design industry that rivals any in the world, yet remains true to its unique cultural origins for design and the African Renaissance influence.
“Our African fashions, which are rich in colour, texture and motifs, continue to inspire top fashion designers internationally. The richness of style inherent in our cultures acts as a muse for the world’s fashion centres,” says Sonwabile Ndamase, executive president and founder of the Awards.
“Dressing, and dress fashion(s) are the most significant forms of enhancing a people’s identity. They become forms of outward expression of one’s self that make one different from, (and yet the same with) the other. It becomes the basis of harmony in diversity that makes us, a people who, in our difference, share the commonness of humanity.
“The dress becomes an endorsement of my ‘Afrikan-ness”, European-ness, Asian-ness, Italian-ness, Indian-ness, French-ness etc.,” Ndamase adds.