Ahh, Johannesburg. It’s a city that many love and many love to hate, with valid reasons. But one thing we can never take away from the city, is how much of a culture hive it is.
As one of the leading cities for creatives in Africa and the globe, Joburg, as it’s lovingly called, is an urban jungle, where you can be whatever you want to be. Such is the appeal of Joburg and its unique history and bourgeoning culture scene, that it’s a haven for artists, who visit its famous streets for inspiration.
Joburg is famous of its fashion. From the edgy fashion lords and ladies, who frequent The Royale, the glamazons who rule the Sandton scene and the non-conformists, who fit in both worlds, but still march to the beat of their own drum.
Joburg is a city that almost begs its inhabitants to be themselves, lest they be swallowed up into a sea of sameness. And Joburg does not celebrate boredom.
Which brings us to Joburg Fashion Week.
Joburg Fashion Week: All You Need To Know
Produced by Africa Fashion International, it is one of the leading fashion weeks in the continent, which has cemented Joburg as one of the fashion capitals in the world. With Joburg Fashion Week taking place from 8-12 November, at the forum | the campus in Bryanston, it is not far-fetched to expect fashion lovers to be getting their looks ready, all with the aim of being snapped by street style photographers. Tickets are already on sale, ranging from front row seats to
We are expecting attendees to go all out, making sure that they are seen as fashion forward, stylish and worthy of being named style icons.
However, will this season bring high wattage, OTT style? Or will there be more muted moments and a focus on quiet luxury?
What founder and Chief Editorial Officer of Who What Wear, Hillary Kerr, describes in the podcast “Second Life” as fashion’s “Peacocking Era” is slowly but surely (finally) coming to an end. What emerges instead is the growing “casualisation” of fashion week street style.
Most fashion industry professionals that go to fashion week aren’t there for a gala, nor the frills of red carpet. They are there for work. Once the show is over (assuming there’s no after-party, of course), they have their eyes on the door for their next show or engagement.
Their notebooks and notes apps are full of show notes and observations for a trend report due in an impossibly generous 5 hours. Essentially, they are at a work event with a few extra considerations – in addition to professionalism and ease of movement, they must curry favour and secure their belonging by dressing the part.
A showstopping cocktail dress is therefore not only inefficient, but entirely out of place. What comes through instead is a keen balance of elegance and utility – low-maintenance and movement-optimised smart-casual style, that also reflects the wearer’s style-proficiency and creativity.
On one hand, quiet luxury endures as the current wave. On the other hand, streetwear also remains an enduring styling philosophy, bringing every day, staple pieces together through elevated styling, and seeing how they might be re-thought, recontextualised and elevated in an outfit.
The Fashion Week Look
From New York to Copenhagen, we saw a joyous blend of colour, bringing everyday pieces together through eccentric, elevated styling. Enduring, off-duty model staples – the simple slip skirt, the 90’s-classic denim jeans and black blazer combo –were elevated by collegiate yet youthful sweater vests, sturdy footwear and compact, “just-enough” handbags.
People played with the architecture of silhouettes, throwing them out of balance and getting playful with shape and volume in relation to their bodies.
Fashion is in an era where personal style and individual expression override any need to do things the “right” way. In fact, no one seems to know or care what that even looks like anymore.
JOBURG FASHION WEEK: The Style Guide
Joburg Fashion Week follows global fashion weeks with 20/20 hindsight of global trends. This puts us in the position to relay to you what styles, staples, and playful experiments that have resonated with fashion audiences will be perfect to take from the runway to street style.
Telling people what to wear to fashion week may be a bit passé, but there will always be people who want a point of reference for how to invest in their fashion week closets. And we at AFI are always happy to provide.
Whether cinched at the waist with a belt, or left loose for a shapeless, oversized look, the classic Nylon Trench is lightweight and somewhat trans-seasonal. It maintains a casual, yet stylish quality, no matter the occasion. To lean deeper into a relaxed look, pair it with wide-legged denim jeans for a boxy silhouette, sneakers, and a homegrown staple – the Broke cap.
When Joburg’s Summer sun is beating down on you, a blazer is maybe not ideal. But given Joburg’s undecided November weather, the blazer is a lightweight summer staple, perfect for when the evening chill sets in. At global Fashion Weeks, we saw attendees play around with blazer silhouettes – from the classic black “business-in the-front” blazer reimagined in leather, to drop-shoulder blazers with no bottoms.
The Waist Coat
Another suiting piece that has dominated street-style this year, is the lone waistcoat – a wardrobe hero that forms the perfect smart-casual middle-ground. Paired with a pair of traditional loafers, or the current it-sneaker, Adidas Sambas. What made these styling choices so notable this year, was how eloquently people played with tradition. If there’s one thing I trust African fashion audiences to do, it’s this.
Military Chic? Aye, aye, Captain!
Maintaining a steady hold on street style since their return in 2022, cargo pants remain the icon of utility and style. Given their relaxed silhouette and mostly neutral colouring, they represent the ideal trans-seasonal piece for a fashion week set in Joburg’s stormy Summer. Although perfect for an everyday, post-Fashion Week look, these Beige Cargo Trousers from our in-house brand, AFI Privé, can be elevated by a high-heeled leather boot, trench, or classy black blazer.
Objects of Desire: Eric Raisina Bags
Available at House of Nala, this exuberant Eric Raisina “Bomber Bag” is a feast of colour and texture. Made of silk, this moderately sized cross-body piece with 3D, inverted floral details serves a perfect balance of vibrance and utility. Alongside its sister-bag, which is embellished with velvet floral details and yellow feather fringe, this piece can be the solar power to an all-black ensemble, or swing alongside a simple slip midi-skirt.
Striking the balance between classic and girly youthfulness, the Mary-Jane is a sturdy staple that is finally making its return as a Spring trend via the intersection fashion’s latest viral obsessions – “Ballet-Core”, the cult classic Margiela Tabi, and the growing success of New York-based fashion label, Sandy Liang.
Whether it’s in the form of a flat or a modestly heeled pump, the Mary-Jane is a walking shoe that is equally light enough and classy enough for a busy summer evening. In its traditional black iteration, alongside a pair of delicate, frilly crew-socks. It is broadly wearable with a variety of pieces -- two-piece suits, nylon trench coats, and fun, flirty dresses alike.
Prepare to immerse yourself in a world of unrivalled glamour and style as Africa's leading designers come together to stage a fashion extravaganza. You can be part of an elite audience and witness the latest trends and creations from the African continent's top fashion designers.
It's an opportunity to experience fashion at its finest, showcasing the very essence of African creativity and innovation.