Promising South African Designers Show in London

 

Stiaan Louw 2012, Photography Jacobus Snyman

 

While the London Fashion Week twittersphere was buzzing about Tom Ford and his uber select 2012 spring-summer show as well as who and where fronting first rows I was following a quiet hype-less presentation by SAAM, South African Artist Management that brought three South African designers to show in London.

Three designers.
Three different signatures.

A 21st century Mahatma Ghandi disciple by Stiaan Louw

Stiaan Louwthe most conceptual of the three, and my choucou, explores South African identity through the prism of ethnic and cultural influences.

Stiaan Louw by Brett Rubin

 

Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa Knitwear found a modern way to translate his heritage into most wearable knits interpreting Xhosa symbols and patterns

Xhosa symbols inspired knits

 

And Heni Este-Hijzen, a self-described master of “thrills and frills”, with a darker, gothic side delves into history for inspiration.

Heni Este-Hijzen

“Africa”, “African” is a recurring theme on the planet fashion. Unfortunately most international designers do not venture beyond the predictable clichés of animal prints, Masai warriors and safari trips as seen in the latest collection by Michael Kors during NYFW 2012

 

Michael Kors Spring Summer 2012

 

These three designers showed that Africa does not really fit into clichés.

It is about mind boggling diversity, intense richness of colours and flavours and above all — Creativity