The countdown is on for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg 2017, running from 17 to 19 August at the Mall of Africa in Waterfall Park. The event is set to delight more than ever as it marks both the 10th anniversary year of African Fashion International (AFI) and the culmination of Mercedes-Benz’s partnership with AFI as headline sponsor.
“We have had an excellent working relationship with Mercedes-Benz for the past five years so parting ways after our Fashion Week Joburg next month will be a poignant moment,” says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO and Founder of African Fashion International. “We thank Mercedes-Benz for all their support over the years, which has helped make AFI’s Fashion Weeks in Cape Town and Johannesburg a spectacular growth phenomenon in the African fashion business. AFI is continuing to give these events its full support and the Motsepe Group of companies is expanding its investment.”
“Over the past five years, we have been proud to assist AFI in boosting African fashion as a business and as a source of inspirational creativity,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars at Mercedes-Benz South Africa. “We believe that AFI will go from strength to strength and keep setting the pace for the fashion industry for South Africa.”
Dr Moloi-Motsepe established AFI a decade ago as a pioneer in African luxury fashion and a key channel for the international growth of African designers.
“We are increasing our investment in AFI Fashion Weeks and our other AFI properties, because we see these as premium platforms for corporate partnerships. They attract a diverse and lucrative market for consumer facing businesses thus making fashion week a strong investment case. We also see a bright future ahead for African fashion locally and globally,” says Dr Moloi-Motsepe. “Our long-term goal is to foster a fashion climate where high-quality design and craftsmanship combine with Africa’s heritage and history in a distinctive fashion package that competes successfully in the global fashion market.
“As a pioneer of African luxury fashion, AFI has given African designers an international platform as part of building a critical mass of globally recognised design talent. We want African designers to lead when African symbols and designs trend internationally. We strongly believe that as much as possible, the rewards for African creativity should be reaped here on our continent rather than accruing only to fashion houses in the global north.”
AFI’s portfolio of growing ventures in commercial fashion and lifestyle platforms now consists of: AFI Fashion Week Joburg, AFI Fashion Week Cape Town; development programmes AFI Fastrack and AFI NextGen; online retail portal AFI Privé; and associated properties, AFI Awards; and AFI Master Classes.
“Our latest initiative is the AFI Experience, which communicates the vibrancy and vitality of our continent’s fashion industry across a varied social and youth platform,” says Dr Moloi-Motsepe. “It is designed to enable an African fashion movement to blossom, allowing everyone in the fashion industry from designers to consumers to track the trends, strategies, events and even what is happening behind the scenes of this exciting business.”
Many designers and other fashion-industry worker are small or micro businesses and start-ups, so the AFI Experience offers them a further opportunity to build their exposure and their brands, thus contributing towards generating sales and income.
“Fashion is definitely a business that is passion-driven and that is why at AFI we do all we can to enable and protect the hard work and talent of everyone involved,” says Dr Moloi-Motsepe. “We understand the economic necessities that many designers and associated businesses face and we look forward to working with them in years to come.
“Fashion Weeks remain the heart of our business so we are excited about the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg 2017. We know it will once again display our passion for fashion excellence.”
African Fashion International (AFI) was established to market African talents and ignite local and international attention towards the African fashion industry. The company led the way by introducing desperately needed international platforms to showcase authentic African brands; through its Fashion Week platforms in Joburg and Cape Town.
Within its development strategy, AFI’s Fastrack™ initiative identifies and invests in the best of the continent’s young designers, by providing them with direct access to: mentorships, media exposure and business acumen, through yearling programmes that prepare them in navigating the fashion landscape. In addition to this development platform, AFI’s Young Designer of the Year competition annually rewards outstanding new talent, with the annual winners and runners-up going on to run their own fashion businesses. Over the past six years, AFI’s Fastrack™ incubator programme has so far assisted in developing the careers of 75 new talents.
Visit www.africanfashioninternational.com for more information
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