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What Happened at AFI Joburg Fashion Week Day 1

The highs, the lows and the meh from the opening day of AFI Joburg Fashion Week

The first day of fashion week is like the first day of a new job – creating the impressions that set the tone for the personality of the entire event. Our first impression was, well… fine.

The role of a fashion week is to place, not only a designer, but also the standard of our collective talent that represent the country on a world stage. It should make the statement that we define our stories, our trends and our craft. There certainly needed to be more thought around what designers are choosing to show on a platform that should be internationally competitive. 

That said, Day 1 treated us to some interesting perspectives from a select few designers pushing a fashion narrative that excites and inspires us to look forward to the future of what we may have to offer as a country and a continent.


The first of these is Nao Serati. Designer, Nao came to the party with celebratory sparkles, loud animal print and fringing in accessories. Nao didn’t stray far from his signature cuts and gender-fluid concepts that translated into a fierce presentation of exaggerated shapes and dramatic finishes.

 Orapeleng Modutle told us how to give femininity and strong makeover – with soft floral notes, elaborate ruffles, intricate embroidery contrasted with dark liquid fabrications and pieces that felt like armour. The music-inspired collection took us back to the roaring twenties, with models adorned in flapper-inspired headpieces.


Matte Nolim transported us to the 60s with cutesy matching sets in greens worth envying. Bright lime and emerald tones stole the show with interesting water-resitant fabrications. 

The highly anticipated Rich Factory collection transported onlookers to a world of celebration of what it means to be African, transforming traditional wax print in radiant colour. A one-of-a-kind gown featuring the full colour spectrum of the collection closed the show – a reminder that fashion should be fun, bold and unafraid.



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