LOCHNATION Interviews #SWF Founder Stephen Manzini
Soweto Fashion week is set to be held from the 26th to the 29th of November at the Soweto Theatre in Johannesburg South Africa.
Since Dan & I know absolutely nothing about fashion, a quick look at our #OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) tagged pics will quickly prove this, we decided to get hold of a lady known for hob-knobbing with some of Zimbabwe’s fashion elite who has often set the innanets ablaze with her taste in clothing – none other than Loch Nation (I call her Lordza for short).
Lo interviewed Stephen Manzini – the founder of Soweto Fashion week to get the lowdown on the event.
What were your inspirations and motivation behind starting Soweto Fashion Week
The inspiration and motivation behind Soweto Fashion Week was to create a platform for upcoming and developed designers to showcase their talent to a brand new market. Soweto is a renowned place with such rich history and that history can be depicted through clothing. We provide designers from all walks of life with the necessary skills they need and we guide them through the process of showcasing at such a prestigious event. We used to hear alot of young designers in Soweto complaining that they cannot afford to showcase at bigger fashion shows but they are equally talented as those up there. So the idea came about as a solution to provide that platform for them and to empower them.
Why is this platform different from the more esteemed Mercedes Benz Fashion Week?
The Soweto Fashion Week brand is different because we showcase the various ethnic cultures that we have in the African continent. Each designer comes from a different background and culture and this is evident through their designs. The South African Fashion Industry is getting the recognition that it finally deserves because we have very talented designers in our country. We are a growing nation and our fashion industry is growing as well. We offer upcoming designers the opportunity to learn the fashion business and this is why we mentor them along the way.
How has the platform grown since you first started?
We have grown immensely over the past 3 years. Our following and of course the success that each of our designers have experienced because of the platform we provide for them. Our designers have gone onto styling celebrities for photo shoots and events as well. Even though we had difficulties along the way, we continue to improve every year.
Is there any form of competition between the various Fashion Weeks held in Johannesburg?
Yes, the fashion industry is competitive and we think it’s a good thing because it keeps everybody on their toes to produce quality designs.
Why are fashion weeks important?
Fashion weeks are important because showcasing a craft such as fashion design is important. Clothing is a statement and an essential aspect in life. Fashion weeks showcase different trends and ideas that you wouldn’t normally find in larger retail stores. Fashion Weeks are important because we showcase originality.
What contribution does Soweto Fashion Week make to the fashion scene and culture in South Africa?
We introduce fresh new upcoming fashion designers with brand new ideas to the fashion industry while keeping it ethnic as possible. Soweto Fashion Week gives these upcoming designers the tools to showcase and provides them with valuable knowledge on how to run their brands successfully.
What kinds of opportunities have risen for designers who have shown at Soweto Fashion Week?
The Soweto fashion week designers have previously been invited to showcase their garments at the Switzerland fashion week as well as Las Vegas fashion week. One of our designers, ZamaSwazi Inventive Fashion has styled South African artist, AKA for one of his photo-shoots along with many other achievements from most of our designers. Our designers have been interviewed by various media houses as well, so the media exposure is a plus for them.
What can fashion lovers & buyers expect from this year’s show?
Soweto Fashion Week is always about fashion theatre so expect to be on your feet, laughing, enjoying every second of it. We also have some of the Rhythm City cast who will walk on the runway as well. Fashion shows normally start at about 6pm and then end at about 9pm but we often stay around afterwards to mingle with everybody and we end up having a great time after each show every night. Expect to be blown away by the amount of talented designers under one roof.
The 26th is the welcome party where we introduce everybody and welcome the public. The shows start on the 27th – 29th November 2014 at The Soweto Theatre.