South African Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018 Collection Reviews

By: Tshego ‘Red’ Mosiane

*All images from the South African Fashion Week Official Gallery by Eunice Driver

This past week saw the return of South Africa’s most respected fashion week at a new venue with around 45 designers showcasing their Autumn/Winter 2018 offerings. Here are a few must-see collections from the runway:

African Style Story

At first glance, my immediate thought was “exactly how old is their customer?”. It’s all fine and well to target a more mature market (I mean, they need clothes too) but this collection feels more nursing home than retirement community, you know? It has no youthful, trendy or relevant perspective on classic styles but instead may be a tad too matronly. The prints belong on throw pillows and sofa upholstery. The better pieces were those clearly attempting to bridge the age gap via print insets and military-inspired shirts with contrasting patch pockets but even they felt flat and disconnected.

Black Coffee

As usual,  Jacques van der Watt does not disappoint and gave one of the best collections of the week.

My only slight reservation is the transparent chiffon (?) skirts and dresses because I thought we discussed this and decided it’s time to move on from this trend and bring back appreciating lining but his usage of this was by far the least annoying. Hopefully it was just for runway.

The cherry on top that perfectly tied together the collection was the labyrinth-inspired embroidery on key pieces.


Ageo by Arnold Phasha

This young designer was a tad too ambitious for his realistic capabilities. This collection was a mess. It only had 8 looks but even that was too much.

I imagine the aim was a more Avant Garde approach to ready-to-wear but fell short as Phasha clearly hasn’t mastered the necessary technique to execute his vision. More time to figure out better fabrics, designs, finishings etc wouldn’t have hurt.

May this also be a lesson that a monochrome collections doesn’t hide fatal flaws.

Floyd Avenue

This season felt a lot different from Floyd, I think what we are witnessing is called “growing pains”. Not that it was bad – most of it works if you look at it as separates – it just didn’t make sense. It’s especially puzzling for a designer who usually shows cohesive collections with looks seamlessly building upon each other as they come down the runway.

It seems Floyd was trying to take a few risks by throwing in prints as well as Japanese and utilitarian inspired silhouettes the way he did but each fell flat as he didn’t commit. If you’re going to try switch thing up, you have to be convincing. It would have been better if he decided on a clearer defined specific risk to take then built upon that in each look.

Clive Rundle

Clive Rundle is truly one of the country’s best design exports and he reminded us of that with his latest collection.

Almost always drawing inspiration from nature, this collection ‘explores the simple relationship of butterflies with the wind, and the patterns they make as they traverse both space and time’. But as usual his interpretation is far from typical or boring because the Clive Rundle consumer is anything but.



De Mil

The unisex clothing brand showed a monochromatic and clearly Japanese-inspired streetwear collection which was definitely one of the best of the category this season.

There were 2 pieces which verged on costume, namely the more literal take on Kimonos. The collection could have done without them as they play too close to the insensitivity line. Hopefully they were just to emphasize the inspiration to those unable to see the obvious.

The other 14 looks were a breath of fresh air for the sea of printed hoodies and cargo pants that local streetwear can be.


Can’t say it’s the most unique menswear collection to be seen, but it is a perfectly executed one. The looks were well made and versatile enough for the brand’s consumer.

None of the looks are new or unexpected for this designer or even this consumer, which makes me wonder why one should go get them from this brand specifically if most (if not all) of his direct competitors are doing the exact same thing? I mean, it doesn’t vn have the cropped trouser trend going for it.

I think this should be picked up by major retailers as it is a step up from their current ranges on offer for young professional men, but as something from an independent brand it it is easy to overlook.

RI.CH Factory

If you’re going to be a designer who depends on the allure of African/African-inspired printed fabrics then you should at least get everything else right.

This collection could have been great had it been executed smarter. First off, there are glaring fit issues caused by mishandling of the fabric. Secondly, how the designer chose to mix prints in some looks was a complete mess and caused some to compare her garments to a pile of discarded candy wrappers.

As an emerging brand popular with a few local celebrities, RI.CH Factory needs to start paying closer attention to technique and execution.

Rich Mnisi

South African fashion’s Golden Boy did not disappoint this season.

Rich’s evolution as a designer has been a very interesting one to watch and he is only getting better.

Now focusing more on a more commercially viable version of his signature aesthetic, we can see how versatile he is. This collection gave pieces you could see on men and women of all ages across varying senses of style. That’s a hard balance for any designer to perfect.



An oddly simple and sophisticated collection from the designer known for her crafty approach to adding detail to her pieces.

Turns out that under all that quirk was a Sheila-Madge more consumers would be open to know. The simper the approach, the better the pieces. The stand out being the pink almost Chanel-like pantsuit.

She brought in more prints this season and received some backlash on the neon zebra print that felt a bit too Kenzo x H&M for comfort. I wish she used more of the print in the 4th photo above.

Thebe Magugu

Another outstanding collection from the emerging designer gradually becoming a local scene stealer.

Thebe’s collection was inspired by the societal expectations placed on women in current day South Africa. This comes through in how each look is feminine yet powerful in a modern context.

There’s not much else to say except how beautiful and versatile it is. One of the best collections this season.


Vintage Zionist x AfroPunk

Let’s start off by stating that this is by far the best collection from the local vintage rock inspired brand, they stepped it up knowing the world’s eyes are on them. The highlights being their signature use of vintage leather for their jackets.

That being said, I don’t see how this is an AfroPunk collaboration.

Yes, Afropunk the music festival. It’s coming to Johannesburg later this year and decided to collaborate with the brand on a collection that will be sold at every one of their festivals around the world in 2018.

But other than the occasional spray painted on logo, you can’t see much of what the festival represents or what we have come to associate them with. It doesn’t make sense as a collaboration. Sure there’s the “Punk” but where’s the “Afro”?


What are some of your favourite collections from SAFW this season? Let us know in the comments below