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SAA DURBAN FASHION WEEK (article first published : 2005-06-9)

KwaZulu Natal will be making fashion history when they host the first ever South African Airways Durban Fashion Week at the Durban International Convention Centre from June 15 to 18.

Vanashree Singh, Durban-based fashion innovator and convenor of SAA Durban Fashion Week, will showcase a dazzling collection of the country’s top designers. The list is impressive - from acclaimed local couturiers such as Gideon, Gavin Rajah, Lindiwe Kuzwayo and Colleen Eitzen to some of the hottest new talent like Tumi, Kathrin Kidger and Wanda Ndaba of Durban Designer Emporium.

Sharing centre stage with local talent is an exciting selection of international collections from Africa, India and Europe – word from the SAA Durban Fashion Week team is to look out for what’s gearing up to be a fashion spectacular never seen before in Durban! SAA Durban Fashion Week has created a platform for local designers to showcase their work at an international level. This event is a showcase of fashion and design talent that has been created, trained and matured in Durban – and finally they have been given an outlet to display and attain maximum exposure of their work.

“And, it’s long overdue,” says Vanashree. “For many years, Durban has been a centre of excellence for fashion and design. We have produced some extraordinary talent, which has been lost to Durban as designers have moved on to grow their business elsewhere in the country. Now, Durban is to be firmly established on the South African fashion map.”

SAA Dbn Fashion Week is not only about glamour, it has a strong focus on the business of fashion. And, the Durban design industry is strongly behind the initiative! “Finally, Durban designers have a show of our own,” rejoiced Lindiwe Kuzwayo who has been in the industry since 1986. “I’ve exhibited all over the world, but this is the first time that I will showcase a collection in Durban,” she says. Gideon, too, is positive about the future of design in Durban: “For the future of the design industry in Durban, we need to put every effort behind the event to ensure its success!”

“I encourage the eThekwini community together with business to prepare for the event which will boost tourism and have major spin-offs for the City,” said Mayor Obed Mlaba, commenting on Vanashree’s observation that SAA Durban Fashion Week will in time help to boost employment in both the clothing and textile industries.

In line with their commitment to building the KwaZulu-Natal tourism market, South African Airways has come on board as the title sponsor. “The partnership with the City of Durban and KZN Tourism reinforces SAA’s commitment to increasing tourism to the province as well as flying fashion enthusiasts from around the world and Africa to the Zulu Kingdom,” said Nonhlanhla Koza, Vice President Marketing, South African Airways. “As the national carrier, South African Airways is proud to be associated with projects that showcase the vast talent our country has to offer. “

The media, too, is enthusiastically putting their support firmly behind SAA Durban Fashion Week. Three of South Africa’s biggest selling magazines, Fair Lady, Sarie and True Love are supporting the initiative and aim to encourage consumer interest in local design and creativity. Together with media partners, East Coast Radio and the well-read Daily News and Independent On Saturday, SAA Durban Fashion Week will reach an unprecedented number of fashion enthusiasts!

SAA Durban Fashion Week is a response to a call from Durban designers who argue that fashion weeks are held in most major cities around the world! Now Durban is set to take the international stage with an exciting feast of 21 glittering fashion shows over four days which has sparked unprecedented interest among the fashion industry, designers and students of design.

Karen Monk Klijnsra bubbled with excitement when we spoke to her about SAA Durban Fashion Week. “Durban should have done this a long time ago! It's wonderful that Vanashree has taken the initiative to put the city on the international fashion stage.”

The event is accessible to all fashion enthusiasts, and tickets are available at Computicket. Highlights from 21 shows will be showcased to raise funds for Save the Children KZN. The introduction of the International Fashion Sale will benefit visitors of the SAA Durban Fashion Week with a vast collection of designer labels available, including a selection from designers showcased during the week. Major retail brands will be on offer at hugely discounted prices!

For more information on the most exciting fashion event of the year, check out www.durbanfashionweek.com




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