Unless you have your ears buried under a rock, in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea, you have undoubtedly heard the rise of the South African fashion industry’s voice. Nkosinathi Zwane (24), co-founder and creative director of Kwa-Thema Fashion Week, gives us a glimpse into his world where he fiercely fights for his place in the industry.
“What inspired me to start Kwa-Thema Fashion Week was the urge to make a difference and impact the community in a positive way. We wanted to be the role models we never had, and the chance to give hope to the community,” says Zwane. With the creative arts constantly underestimated in the townships, it is no wonder that ‘millennials’ are taking matters into their own hands. This once accused, lazy youth, does not wait for opportunities – they make them.
Zwane believes that it is critical to bring such events to “ekasi” as it brings value for money, and gives people something to identify themselves with. Although the brand still struggles to receive funding and support from local government, they continue to push forward and create fashion miracles. Zwane says his biggest highlights thus far have been partnering with some big brands, as well as watching the design processes of the promising designers he works with.
The upcoming Kwa-Thema Fashion Week Season 10, to be held on March 30, promises to be a fashion spectacle of note where late creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, who died early this year will be honoured. Guests can look forward to a special tribute opening performance for the late fashion icon. The theme of this years show is classic and elegant as local designers are expected to, in Karl Lagerfeld’s words, show guests “there is no beauty without strangeness.”
“Kwa-Thema Fashion Week has that kasi element to it, we stay true to our nature by keeping it authentic to the people,” says Zwane.