In 2020 SA Fashion Weeks’s principal concern was to bolster the creative fashion industry as it faced off the unprecedented challenge posed by the global Coronavirus pandemic. More than ever SA Fashion Week understood the imperative to galvanise South Africa’s designers behind examining both the intrinsic brand values they respectively offer as well as the broader value system they wish to own as a collective.
To this end, innovative new online conferencing platforms have emerged as a vital space in which to connect with all the stakeholders, including the all-important boutique retail sector which continues to be of primary importance.Equally, and despite having to focus on mitigating the disruptive impact of the pandemic during 2020, the central pillars of SA Fashion Week’s scope of business as a holistic driver of capacity building in the creative fashion industry remains in place.
DESIGNER-MANUFACTURED PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT INITIATIVE
In view of the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the design sector, especially the hemorrhaging of jobs, SA Fashion Week proactively fast-tracked solutions to deal with
the crisis. Certified mask patterns were developed at the onset of the national lock-down in March 2020 and supplied to 6000 designers nationally to enable them to start manufacturing and keep their studios in business. SA Fashion Week equally initiated contact between its corporate partners and sponsors and the designer collective which resulted in income with the result of R300 000.00 being generated to support these small businesses.
COVID-19 MODIFIED 2020 SPRING SUMMER COLLECTIONS
effectively whilst simultaneously being highly mindful of the safety aspects associated with the pandemic.
Twenty-six digital runway shows were streamed online over three days from 22–24 October 2020. This was followed by two live events in the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa in Midrand during November 2020. These were:
- The SAFW Trade Show aimed at retail buyers with fifty designers of mens and womenswear as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewellery and millinery
- The SA Fashion Week Pop-Up Shop which allowed fashion consumers to interact and buy directly from all the participating designers from 27–29 November.
The timing of these events was rescheduled to November to allow the impact and buzz generated by the Collections launch to be extended over three months instead of the customary four days. This proved to be hugely beneficial for SA Fashion Week’s stakeholders and in particular, the sponsors and the designers.
Move to Trans-Seasonality and Slow Fashion In line with the international trend and the increasing move towards a Slow Fashion ethos of sustainable and timeless design, SA Fashion Week 2020, too was marked by the emergence of trans-seasonal collections which incorporate both cool and warm weather elements.