Shweshwe is fashion star
By Tabisa Mntengwana
19 July 2012
AFRICA meets the West in the inaugural East London Fashion Fair, which was expected to bring various local and international jewellery makers, clothing designers and other fashion related items to the city, said Executive Mayor Zukiswa Ncitha.
She added that it would be one of the biggest fashion shows in the province. It was launched on Tuesday, 17 July and will take place on 31 August and 1 September.
"The event will tie into Women's Month and Tourism Month activities to give the public an opportunity to purchase quality goods," Ncitha said. The theme for the inaugural fashion fair is "Africa meets the West".
In partnership with the Eastern Cape department of sports, recreation, arts and culture, Walter Sisulu University and Da Gama Textiles, Buffalo City has embraced the remarkable shweshwe print to reinvent the fashion industry in Eastern Cape.
"The hope is that local designers can achieve local and global recognition within the fashion industry and in doing so position themselves, as well as the shweshwe print, as proudly Eastern Cape - but more importantly as an icon of the Eastern Cape," said Ncitha.
Speaking about the shweshwe print, which is worn by women in Eastern Cape, Da Gama Textiles marketing executive Helen Bester said: "Da Gama Textiles has been operating since 1948 and has been one of the largest textile factories in the country since then.
"The factory weaves, dyes and prints its own fabrics," she added. "Besides being part of the traditional dress code for the last two centuries for ceremonies, the original shweshwe has been showcased in many fashion shows in South Africa and abroad, thus making us proud and pleased to have a role in upholding this part of southern Africa's heritage."
Buffalo City's international relations and development co-operation manager, Darby Gounden, said: "The Fashion Fair is a first of its kind in Buffalo City, the home of shweshwe, Eastern Cape's very own tartan.
It is an incredible opportunity for potential sponsors to support this first effort and make this fashion show a show to remember so that it is able to compete in its own unique way with the fashion weeks held in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
"The show will also give opportunity to new, rising talent to design and produce garments for a new emerging market that want to create their own emerging style," she added.