Realigning Fashion Week to Boost African Fashion

African Fashion International (AFI) is pleased to announce the realignment of its Fashion Week properties, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. As part of the realignment, AFI will reintroduce Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ) for the Spring/ Summer season, in August 2016, at Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City.

This strategic shift by AFI is motivated by two factors: Johannesburg is the economic hub of South Africa, with the largest number of targeted consumers in the fashion industry; and Spring and Summer are the longest seasons in Sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore contribute to the longest and most profitable commercial season in the retail sector. The profitable Spring season extends through to the December buying peak. AFI understands that it should be sensitive to the way people consume fashion, with the acknowledgement that the success of the designer extends far beyond the catwalk.

By placing the Spring/Summer Fashion Week in Johannesburg, AFI aims to lift retail activity and allow local designers to optimally align their collections to meet the demands of the local retail and climate cycles. Re-positioning Fashion Week is crucial to the progression of African fashion designers, giving them an opportunity to increase and sustain their margins. Designers have the benefit of a direct-to-consumer model via AFI’s platforms, their own studios, and their adoption of e-commerce platforms for their brands. By building strong ties with the consumer, designers are better placed to respond effectively to consumer demands. AFI is determined to help designers meet these demands, by ensuring that collections best reflect seasonal needs, are shown in the most logical places, and are exposed to the widest audiences.

Mercedes-Benz has long been an avid supporter of the fashion industry the world over. The privilege of partnering with such an esteemed brand makes AFI all the more determined to bolster its Fashion Week platforms. “Accessing appropriate markets at the optimum moment in the fashion cycle will reduce the investment risk for designers,” notes Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, AFI’s Founder and Executive Chairperson. This change underpins the overall vision of the founder, who envisages designers being enabled to maximise their turnover, and smaller operations expanding from in-house production to commissioning larger production facilities. “AFI has always seen itself as the pioneer and purveyor of African luxury fashion,” says Dr. Moloi- Motsepe. “We strongly believe in the potential of refined African fashion, and are committed to promoting it.” AFI has long understood the potential that lies within African fashion, as it continues to invest deliberately in the talent and craftsmanship of designers, while developing a commercial platform to merge the gap between the designer’s studio and the consumer’s closet.

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