#MBFWJ17 | Day 1 & 2 – Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg Spring/Summer ’17 Collection Review

By: Tshego ‘Red’ Mosiane

Images by: AFI Official Gallery and The Threaded Man.



The event’s organizers, African Fashion International, decided to celebrate their 10 year anniversary by relaunching their in-house luxury ready-to-wear brand, AFI Prive.  “Under the African sun” is a collection supposedly inspired by Africa, it’s landscape and it’s people.

For a collection with such a distinct inspiration, the clothes felt rather generic – especially for a brand actually based in Africa. This collection is more Desert-inspired than anything. Africa may be hot but the entire continent is not the Sahara.

Incorrect language aside, the collection itself was well executed and relevant to local retail trends we’ll see this summer whilst being versatile and comfortable. The highlights were the relaxed silhouettes that would compliment any figure like wrap dresses, quality fabrics that look worthy of the local luxury brand price tag and trend-forecast-approved color palette.


The veteran designer showed a very long collection (by South African standards) bu 35% of it should have been left in the studio. Particularly, a majority of the evening wear which were either over-designed or raised concerns of taste level – including the animal print meets feather trim failed experiment.

The highlight of the collection were the almost 40’s-inspired t-length cocktail dresses, the floral maxi dresses and 2 of the jackets that made an appearance. There are a few garments that would have looked better as separates, the questionable styling of mismatched pieces nobody would wear together ruined a few possible key pieces.



The problem with this collection was at first glance, you immediately know this is this designers first time showcasing at this fashion week (or maybe anywhere) which is something one should avoid. At least 2 looks should have been scrapped for the sake of quality control and cohesion, one being the mildly executed traditional-inspire look. Also, as much as this is still an amateur/emerging brand, there were glaring construction issues specifically with the bathing suit-inspired bottoms – there should never be a seam on center front.

The highlights of this show were more casual, everyday looks like those with the striped wide-leg pants and shorts. They were stylish, youthful and better executed (construction and fabric choice) than the rest of the collection.


Malcolm and Christiaan returned to the runway with a charity collection for the Sunflower Foundation. The collection could have gone without a few looks for the sake of cohesion like the curtain grade-looking organza items we’re just going to act like we didn’t see.

But, you barely notice the few bad looks in the sea of gorgeous pieces. The highlights were definitely the matching metallic leggings and exaggerated sleeve jacket set; the use of feathers and certain prints; and the jumpsuits.  A 2017 take on 70’s fashion trends with plenty of options for a plethora of women wanting to look glamorous by day or night.



First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. A white male designer (and the hair stylists) thought it be an ingenious idea to feature models in hideously done faux yarn locs on the runway, paired with a collection that has no semblance of correlation. Surely, all involved in this disgustingly arrogant and insensitive display are 1) aware of the fact that this is a show in South Africa, a nation with enough cultural and racial tension to last eons and 2) saw Marc Jacobs get dragged for the same stunt last year. It wreaks of simple-minded desperation.

Onto the actual collection: It feels like a random selection of dresses, similar to those seen on popular fashion pages, instead of a collection. Absolutely no cohesive thread between looks, not even a designers signature.

The highlight of the collection was the quality standard of the garment construction, it is much higher than many other designers on the schedule. Also, the 2 somewhat flapper-inspired dresses which were a welcomed break from the diluted familiar designs.


There were pieces that did not look like they came from the same luxury ready-to-wear brand as the brand, for instance the navy blue t-length dress with visible tulle under skirt and embellished shoulders, and therefore could have been left behind. Overall, though, this collection felt more cohesive and had a better flow coming down the runway than those of other designers.

It may be because for the most part of the past year, the designer stepped back from the limelight and had the advantage of having more direct contact with his real consumers in his stores that this collection screams the Thula Sindi woman. She is sophisticated yet flirtatious and vivacious. Looking at each look – or even each piece – you can imagine it on yourself or a woman you know.


The emerging streetwear brand showed a collection clearly heavily inspired by the global workwear/utilitarian trend all the cool kids of instagram have been spotted in. It was a short show, like ‘blink and it’s over’ short. It just seemed as if this designer does not seem to be ready to showcase on such a platform in a runway presentation. The stylists did their best to stretch out 10-pieces (or less) into complete looks by pairing them with basic items but a well executed lookbook, relevant publication features and effective social media strategy would have served them just the same or even more.

The highlight of this collection was the high quality standard in general but the cargo pants in particular deserve the attention. They are both editorial and retail ready for people planning on jumping on this trend this summer.