21 Years – Making Histories with South African Fashion Week - Images courtesy of  - Anthony Tischhauser
Images courtesy of Anthony Tischhauser

21 Years – Making Histories with South African Fashion Week

“Fashion is defined as the art of the perfect moment, the now at the threshold of an immediate future”

This quote is taken from the back of the book 21 Years of SA Fashion Week launched in November 2018. This is not the first time Lucilla Booyzen and her team have taken to publishing to document milestones in SA Fashion Week history.10 X SA Fashion Week: Voices & Images from Ten Years of South African Fashion Week was published in 2006 to celebrate10 years of Fashion Week and nineTAKES: The Fashion Fusion Project was published to celebrate the Fashion Fusion Project (an exchange project to fuse local craft and fashion done in conjunction with the Department of Arts & Culture). This new book serves as another building block for reflecting on and archiving aspects of our country’s fashion history.

The book goes beyond the commercial and aesthetic elements of fashion, and is presented as a gateway to the intimacies of fashion – sharing the journeys of designers and the evolution of their labels, as well as demonstrating the important role that SA Fashion Week has played in assisting to mould the industry and encourage creativity. The book also spotlights designers and moments throughout the 21 years of SA Fashion Week that are representative of fashion eras and moods, offering the foundation for documenting the development of the platform and the designers who showcase their work through it, ultimately painting the interwoven elements that construct South African fashion design culture.

The book’s format follows one similar to those of magazine and editorial layouts, mirroring the way in which fashion content is usually displayed. The photographs of runway shows, collections and short quotes from designers or explanations of collections, coupled with a timeline, guide the reader through different periods in South African fashion. With this one is able to deduce the attitudes of designers echoing or responding to trends as well as South African contexts. With the book beginning in 2018 and moving backwards to the late 90s, one is able to connect moments and streams of design thinking, allowing for an understanding of how aspects of the industry have morphed and built on the work of previous sartorial eras.

With 21 Years of SA Fashion Week as another source for thinking about the past, and present of fashion, a quote from the epilogue makes reference to one of the prominent layers that make up the SA fashion scene currently, and is an appropriate ending, as it makes reference to a now and a future:

“At a time when rampant consumerism and mass production is increasingly questioned by a new type of luxury consumer, inspired by less is more, the individuality of handmade, and fair trade, a small window of opportunity may be opening for our independent brands with their unique stories to tell” (Anthony Tischhauser and Estelle Cooper p. 11).

 

Credits:

Editor – Anthony Tischhauser

Assistant – Margaret Ferreira

Consulting Editor – Estelle Cooper

Subeditor – Janese Glasscoe

Design – Mama Creative

Image layout – Lucilla Booyzen

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