At its core, fashion week is an opportunity for designers to not only share with their audiences the themes, style philosophies and ingenious and the innovative new print, colouring and construction techniques that they’ve been exploring for the coming season, but to also create visibility for their brands; cultivate a runway presence that motivates audiences to buy into their collections season after season.
African fashion weeks are distinguished by a unique set of conditions, philosophies, and creative inputs. As per usual, the Joburg Fashion Week runway was a convergence of local know-how – a showground for designers’ cultural curiosities, infusing their personal explorations and global trends with their introspections and visions for Spring/Summer 2024.
Mixed in with their visions of sensual, sophisticated luxury, were experimental constructions and elements of dopamine dressing. In many ways, Joburg Fashion Week 2023 took all that was expected of an African fashion week by its international audiences and switched up the recipe to showcase their ingenuity and creative prowess.
From saturated summer palettes to flouncy silhouettes, several designers took a direct approach to their Spring/Summer collections, incorporating floral elements into their collections in a variety of ways.
Experimenting with deconstructed silhouettes, Indoni Fashion House led the architecture department on the runway. There’s always been a theatricality to African fashion; one that shows up in dramatic, form-enhancing silhouettes. This year in particular, we saw designers’ concerted efforts to produce exciting collections that were a true showing of the ingenuity of African fashion. Designers made frequent use of ruffles and pleats to create emphasis and volume, echoing the international market’s current embrace of both.
Balancing the leisurely with the low-maintenance, designers produced an easy-going, Bohemian summer aesthetic with luxurious undertones through a wide-set crochet.
Throughout the continent, prints and patterns remain a fixture in African fashion tradition. But like all traditions, they need to be continuously shaken up, rethought, and reimagined to keep them from growing stale. Labels demonstrated that they were being a bit more thoughtful and experimental in their approaches to print, prioritising colour, stroke and texture above the generic geometric shapes and bold black line work.
Both on and off the runway, “Dopamine Dressing” is an enduring post-pandemic global trend. Whether it be in the colour, construction or textural detail of a garment, this phenomenon revolves around garments that set off the dopamine in one’s system, sparking joy on a chemical level. Practical, everyday pieces are brought to live by vivid reds and joyous yellows, and materials that amplify these colours with their own exuberance.
Experience African Luxury: SHOP THE RUNWAY now at House of Nala by AFI, Shop U47A, Upper Level, Sandton City. Or indulge in the runway styles at your fingertips by visiting the House of Nala by AFI online store.