Over 30 established and emerging South African designers presented their collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg last week in which the latest trends for the country’s autumn/winter season were revealed.

At this year’s showpiece, Marianne Fassler, David Tlale (who had just returned from New York Fashion Week) and NN Vintage from Mafikizolo singer Nhlanhla Nciza all received standing ovations while over 5000 buyers, local & international media and fashionistas attended shows over three days at this, the country’s premier autumn/winter sartorial event.

Other top labels who showcased included Gavin Rajah, Ruald Rheeder, Stefania Morland, Fabiani, Khosi Nkosi, Tart, Augustine, KL Tsotetsi, Samantha Constable, SCALO and Shana.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg 2015 was an unparalleled success. Designers showcased collections of matchless quality and design that is globally on-trend. It is simply quite astounding how far South African fashion has come and we are proud that MBFWJ continues to play an integral part in this, says Sizwe Nzimande, Group Marketing Manager of organizer African Fashion International (AFI).

Emerging design talent was another popular feature of MBFWJ 2014 with AFI’s Fastrack and Next Generation incubation and acceleration programmes demonstrating the wealth of up-and-coming design talent present in South Africa.

Four of these designers received a substantial boost to their careers when they were announced as the AFI Fastrack winners. The collections presented by Nthabiseng Molefe from Durban, Capetonian Thebe Magugu and Armand Dicker and Martelle Ludik from Johannesburg so impressed the judges that they were each awarded a R10,000 cash prize, an internship with an established AFI fashion designer as well as an opportunity to launch a capsule collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2015.

This year’s Fastrack show proved that the design talent coming out of South Africa is of the very highest calibre. The development of young talent is a crucial part of our platform to help create sustainability in the industry, adds Sizwe Nzimande.

MBFWJ has also showed itself as a unique platform for Johannesburg to position itself as a hub for African design, showcasing the best regional design talent, while also providing access to global markets and decision-makers.

Around the world, fashion is inherently associated with lifestyle and culture and here in Joburg we are fortunate to be at the heart of the African continent’s fashion design industry, producing some of the most creative and cutting-edge fashion, all with a distinctly African flair. The clothing and textile industry is an important area for Johannesburg and South Africa’s economic growth & development while, tourism-wise, fashion also provides the ultimate lifestyle springboard from which to see the best of Joburg, says Laura Vercueil, PR& Communications manager for the City of Johannesburg.

An impressive array of media and local celebrities attended the various shows with some of the faces in the front row including television and radio presenter Jen Su; Cosmopolitan Fashion Director Poppy Evans; television presenter and model, Bonang Mathebe in addition to; AFI Executive Chairperson Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

MBFWJ has again proven to be an integral part of South African fashion’s phenomenal growth trajectory. As such, we also like to thank our sponsors Mercedes-Benz, venue sponsor Melrose Arch, broadcast partner DSTV, the City of Johannesburg, GHD, MAC cosmetics, SAB, Maccallum, a fashion friend, the Times, South Africa digital village and Sunglass Hut for helping us bring this vision to reality, adds AFI’s Nzimande.

AFI’s next event, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town, previewing South African summer fashion trends, takes place 30th July-1st August 2015.