July 19, 2011 (CORRESPONDENT) – Cape Town Fashion Week. It may not have the stature of New York, Milan, Paris or London just yet, but anyone that attended the Cape Town Fashion Week from July 13 – 16 will attest that it deserves to be on a to-do list.
Unlike fashion weeks in the more established fashion capitals of the world, where attending the shows is strictly reserved for the fashion elite – the Cape Town Fashion Week allowed anyone in, fashion guru or not.
That’s not to say, however, that celebrities didn’t descend on the seaside town. Case in point, model and businesswoman Kimora Lee Simmons and her Hollywood actor husband Djimon Hounsou occupied front row seats, while celebrity E! Entertainment plastic surgeon, Dr Robert Rey, also brought star quality to the show with his saucy LingeREY range.
South African Tourism CEO Thandiwe January-Mclean said SAT’s partnership with African Fashion International (AFI), who run South Africa’s premium fashion weeks (Joburg Fashion Week, Africa Fashion Week and Cape Town Fashion Week), had considerably helped to promote and showcase the industry.
“Cape Town is already a leading destination for the global film and advertising industry, and fashion is a natural progression.”
Last year, Cape Town and Johannesburg both made it to the Global Language Monitor list of the Top 30 Fashion Capitals of the World for the first time, coming in at 23 and 25 respectively, sandwiched between the fashionable Rome, Buenos Aires and Prague.
“Events like the Cape Town Fashion Week have certainly helped to raise the profile of the city and country in the local and international fashion arena… Fashion Week not only gives our designers an opportunity to make a commercial success of their talents, but the media, buyers and fashion followers that it attracts from around the country, continent and the world bring tourism revenue to the city and positive international exposure,” says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, the AFI Chairman.
In the past five years since the inception of AFI, it is estimated that 250,000 visitors have attended AFI fashion weeks and accounted for more than Sh450 million in spend.
What’s more is that Fashion Week has supported Cape Town’s bid to become the 2014 World Design Capital. The title is awarded bi-annually by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to give global prominence to cities that use design for their social, economic and cultural uplifting.
Cape Town is up against Bilbao (Spain) and Dublin (Ireland) and the successful city will know their fate in October this year.
“The fact that Cape Town has been short-listed as one of three cities to be named as World Design Capital 2014 is evidence that the city has what it takes to be taken seriously as a fashion capital of the future,” according to Bryan Ramkilawan, the Cape Town Fashion Council CEO.