My First Fashion Week experience.

This is the literal definition of a throwback post, lol. But you know what they say! Better late than never!

About two months ago, from the 11th to the 13th of October, I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of attending the Mandela Bay Fashion Week for the first time ever! This year’s event marked the third ever time our beautiful city of PE has played the host.

Every time I think of fashion week or fashion week season worldwide, I always think of the ones I see the pictures of online in Paris, New York or Milan, or more locally, Joburg or Cape Town! So when I first heard that Nelson Mandela Bay has it’s very own fashion week I was so, so surprised! And beyond intrigued!

I’ve always dreamed of going one day, but never in a million years did I ever imagine that it’d happen so soon.

I remember telling someone I know about attending Fashion week and being asked rather blankly, “What’s fashion week?” So before I act completely scandalized or assume that everybody is in the know, a quick lesson! According to the interweb (the infamous Wikipedia):

“A fashion week is a fashion industry event, that lasts approximately one week, where fashion designers, brands or “houses” display their latest collections in runway fashion shows to buyers and the media. These events influence trends for the current and upcoming seasons.”

So you can imagine how colourful and interesting of an audience events like this draw together! And I can honestly say that the designers, business owners, media personnel, designers, artists, bloggers and general public attending fashion week were just as interesting as the designers themselves and the models on the runway!

And now you must be wondering (believe me, even I still do!) – how on earth did I end up there??!

It really was just a pleasant culmination of events! My Mom was reading an old blog post of mine, Apron Strings, and decided to forward it to the owner of the restaurant who loved it so much that she shared it to the Apron Strings Facebook page!

My Mom then contacted Gillian McAinsh, the lifestyle editor of our local newspaper The Herald who then called me asking if I’d be interested in taking street style pictures for her for The Herald’s Instagram page!

Of course I said yes!!

Gillian briefed me on what I’d be doing during the 3 shows at The Herald offices, where I also had the pleasure of meeting Zama, who also works as a lifestyle journalist for The Herald.

They were so, so friendly and easy to talk to! And Gillian was so clear and concise in the way that she explained the event and what she wanted me to do! I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

I was ecstatiiiic, but beyond nervous as well! It was a bit daunting to think about how I’d have to approach total strangers at a fashion event and ask to take their pictures as they were arriving.

I think my first assumption was that people involved in the fashion industry in any way are either cold and hostile or stuck up or not friendly. But I was sooooo so wrong!! I can’t put into words how sweet and bubbly and cooperative and enthusiastic all of the people I met and photographed that week were!

Gillian introduced me to so many amazing people! I can only imagine how big of a role networking plays in the work that she does. And you can tell that she does it so well, everyone who ran into her was so genuinely excited to see her and talk to her!

[Pictured below: Local designer Braemore Lundall-Sauls with his partner Denzil Lundall-Sauls]

Personally, I feel like when it comes to fashion, we’re a lot more knowledgeable about international designers and design houses but not so much when it comes to our local, home-grown designers. There is so much local talent!! And our designers need our support to thrive! We need to be each other’s own advocates. And it’s honestly just such a fun excuse to dress up and an opportunity to network and meet new people as well! And to cheer on the models and designers showcasing their work because they so deserve it.

I saw so many unbelievably amazing clothing pieces over the three days, and how incredible it is to think of the process it took to get those clothes to be runway ready! From the first idea conception, to designing and working with the models and sourcing the materials. I saw pieces that could easily rival and be considered at par with what Western designers are creating.

There were a lot of inspiring stories behind the designers who showcased, the most inspiring being the story of local designer Thembani Selani, who is even self taught!

There’s just so much more that goes into putting on shows like this that we don’t even think about – location, lighting, stage managing, make-up etc!

I really commend the organisers Pearl Mandie Vena, Llewellyn Williams and Siwe Max Mdashe for putting together such a stellar, wildly successful event!

It’s only onwards and upwards from here!

[Pictured below: BLC Attorneys lawyer, and fashionista Sonja Tifloen]

[Pictured below: Yolanda Bukani]

[Pictured below: Student designer Thomas Terblanche]

A little #shoestagram!

[Dress pictured below designed by Amanda Knots, so so dreamy!!]

[Model-and family friend!-pictured below: Juliana Kakembo! This girl owwnnned the runway!]

Gotta love athleisure!

Was so so rad to see plus sized models and fashion represented on the runway as well!

This really was an experience that I won’t soon forget, and I’ll treasure all the memories!

Have you ever attended any fashion shows or events?? Let me know in the comments! Till next time 🙂

xx

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