Fashion is something that is inspired by its surroundings and context. Designers draw their inspiration from the worlds and people around them and that’s why we love our very own local designers – all of who are truly inspired by our South African heritage.
Our fashion market in SA has always been influenced by Westernised countries. Predominantly, they’ve set the trends and we’ve followed them. However, in recent years there has been a lot of African influence not only in fashion but in art and music as well that’s not only given South Africans a new sense of pride, but the rest of the continent and the world. At the end of the day I think fashion as a whole is influenced, writes stylist and fashion editor Rojaun Devos, whether locally or internationally, there will always be an influence and a story a look comes from.
Here are a few local designers to watch
Stephen Van Eeden
In 2016, Stephen reached a lifelong pursuit to establish his own brand within the fashion industry. He attained the ability to connect knowledge, past experiences and creativity to successfully drive his brand, specialising in bespoke wedding dresses, red-carpet couture and luxurious resort ready-to-wear. His work has been described as “Unique couture evening gowns that are not aimed at camouflaging the woman, but dressing and enhancing her feminine character,” says Van Eeden.
Stefania Morland is one local high-end store to know and be inspired by. Her high-end fashion store and studio, which opened its doors in 2005, has grown substantially, but stayed true to the brand’s core intentions: “unique, playful pieces that remain classic and timeless”.
“Layering pieces and expertly constructed garments that can be worn in more than one way create a more complex look and allow our customers freedom and creativity of expression with our clothes,” per Morland.
Thebe Magugu is one of the hottest local designers making waves internationally right now. The brand, which offers luxury in ready-to-wear collections, explores multiple concepts and layers of storytelling in capsule projects.
Thebe Magugu is described by incorporating pillars, of “cultural honour, novelty and uncompromising quality,” to create a “self-evolving timelessness” in fashion.
Magugu recently made global headlines for being the first South African designer to collab with adidas, and the collection honours the women in his life including his mother.
If you don’t know Rich Mnisi, you’re missing out on one of the boldest designers in the country.
The vision of Rich Mnisi is described to create fashion by sourcing outside of its realm as ” a vision inspired by sources outside of the realm of fashion, including film, music, art, and nature.”
Founded by Bridgette Pickering, Ruff Tung is the designer for inclusivity, through easy wear made classy fashion for women.
Print, colour and flattering pieces are all a part of Ruff Tung’s brilliance, making Pickering’s work not only loved, but very progressive.