AFI’s Exhibition At The BIEC 2022

AFI Showcases Proudly South African Designs At The Black Industrialists And Exporters Conference

There is more to the fashion industry than just beautiful clothes, footwear, accessories, and leather goods. Beyond the glamour, it is a global industry that is worth US$3 trillion (per Fashion United) and sees growth every year.

In 2020, the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC) and the South African Cotton Cluster, reported that the South African fashion industry contributed more than R1 billion to the GDP of South Africa. 

Fitch Solutions, the research body of the rating agency, recently reported that the local clothing and footwear industry will show strong growth between 2022 and 2026. They predicted that South Africans will spend R121.1-billion buying clothes this year and a further R52.5-billion on footwear.

Designs from Sari For Change, Laani Raani and Tumi Captivating showcased on the AFI Exhibition during the BIEC Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre.

With this growth trajectory for the South African fashion industry, it was important that African Fashion International (AFI) have a presence at the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference (BIEC) held on Wednesday at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Organized by the DTIC, the conference aimed to showcase black industrialists and highlight their contribution to various industrial sectors of the economy.

It was an opportunity for AFI to assert itself as a player in the global fashion industry, with a clear vision to create a platform where globally relevant and contemporary African designers are discovered.

President Cyril Ramaphosa giving his keynote address at the BIEC 2022 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

With this growth trajectory for the South African fashion industry, it was important that African Fashion International (AFI) have a presence at the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference (BIEC) held on Wednesday at the Sandton Convention Centre.
 
Organized by the DTIC, the conference aimed to showcase black industrialists and highlight their contribution to various industrial sectors of the economy.
 
It was an opportunity for AFI to assert itself as a player in the global fashion industry, with a clear vision to create a platform where globally relevant and contemporary African designers are discovered.

Designs from Thabo Makhetha, Gavin Rajah and Refiloe Mocwa showcased on the AFI Exhibition during the BIEC Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Excited about the opportunities the conference and expo will bring for South Africa’s fashion industry, AFI answered the call by the DTIC to exhibit at the producer’s expo and showcased the design talents of 16 designers under the AFI banner. 

The designer brands featured exhibition included AFI’s Fasttrack finalists (Laani Raani, KWorks, Alpha Climax); upcoming designers (Imprint, My Open Clozet, Trendy Secrets, Refiloe Mocwa, Thabo Makhetha, K Moraba Collective, Sari For Change, Tumi Captivating) and the establishment (David Tlale, Gavin Rajah, Franc Elis, Suitablity). 

Designs from David Tlale, A Cognosenti and Alpha Climax showcased on the AFI Exhibition during the BIEC Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The necessity for a thriving local fashion sector was prevalent at the BIEC. Visitors to the AFI exhibit were impressed by the garments, with many expressing their surprise that they were produced locally. It opened an opportunity for AFI to introduce South African fashion brands to a new audience, one who previously did not pay closer attention to the talents of South African designers.

For many attendees, it was their first time physically interacting with luxury fashion garments produced in South Africa, which highlights just how important it was for AFI to be able to provide an opportunity for designers to be showcased on a platform that celebrates the strides made by Black Industrialists in the economy. It was echoing also the president’s requests for the private sector to scale up mentoring so emerging black businesses do not find themselves set up for failure.

President Cyril Ramaphosa with AFI Marketing Manager, Roshnee Pillay during his visit to the AFI Exhibition during the BIEC Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre.

In his speech, President Ramaphosa asked delegates at the conference to find opportunities to access other markets on the continent.

“This conference will be discussing opportunities to access other markets on the continent through the African Continental Free Trade Area and trade arrangements between South Africa and the rest of the world. Our achievements through the Black Industrialists Programme and other initiatives must act as a springboard to achieving higher rates of economic growth, social transformation, and common prosperity.”

AFI has demonstrated its commitment to trade in the global market through the recent efforts and collaborations with Forbes in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Kasane, Botswana, where designers were given platforms to showcase and access new markets allowing for trade opportunities. The fashion shows were designed to promote the designers and generate sales.

Designs from KWorks, Franc Elis and MyOpenClozet showcased on the AFI Exhibition during the BIEC Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre.

AFI has been able to plan showcases that invigorate a passion for Africa and the work produced by African creatives by promoting unique and diverse contemporary perceptions of African heritage and culture.

This is one of AFI’s pillars which has established itself as an all-encompassing home for African creatives, to connect our vast network of creatives to global markets that care about authentic African narratives. It continues to be important for AFI to grow Africa’s contributions to the global fashion and lifestyle marketplace through partnerships and the construction of world-class platforms.

Designs from Trendy Secrets by Ipssy, Suitability, K Moraba Collective and Imprint showcased on the AFI Exhibition during the BIEC Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre.

As an aggregator of African fashion, it is the core business of AFI provide to opportunities for African fashion designers and creatives to show their contribution to the economy. 

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