Let’s get into it.
The Fashion Firm SA is an institution at this point. Founded by financier and businesswoman Tumi Buys in 2015, the space serves as the ultimate enclave of networking, skill-set, resourcing and funding opportunities for South Africa’s fashion industry. Time and again, I speak to designers who express the disheartening truth that our industry lacks the resources and accessibility found in other parts of the world, generally fostered in other countries by government’s involvement in advancing design as a vehicle for social and economic change. Tumi Buys is that woman, though – having merged her asset finance background with a vision for equipping designers with a myriad of tools in order to see their brands flourish both locally and internationally.
Tumi’s incisive ability to create connections between industry players, enterprises and creatives has been instrumental in the international emergence of South African fashion; having initially begun with two designers in 2019, the partnership with MFW has become such a success that TFF was able to take 10 designers to Milan this year, “we approached SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency) as well as the Department of Small Business and they also gave us leads of designers that they’ve worked with. And then we sat down and chose our best 20 and we sent them through to the organisers in Italy and they would choose their best 10.” Tumi explained in her interview with Ntombi Khulu for TRUELOVE.
The designers who showcased at WHITE Milano were Shelley Mokoena’s CONNADE, Inga Africa and their incredible, luxury leather goods, Floyd Avenue Apparel, architectural accessories brand E.G Jewellery, Lizah Chanda Crochet Collection, SASH South Africa, LAANIRAANI, ShweShweKini Active Wear, ABANTU. and Milano alumni, Wanda Lephoto. The group expresses a mixture of ready-to-wear, artisanal craftsmanship, accessories and activewear; a kind of sampling of the current climate in South Africa and the potential of various markets within South African fashion.
Lezanne’s cerebrally and cosmically informed design-mind was on full display this season; the very of the basis of the show was a mergence between the etheric, extra-terrestrial and craftsmanship – with VIVIERS on a clear road to harnessing consciousness as its primary methodology.
“’Re-Trace, Re-Memory, Re-Set, Re-Culture’ serves as a canvas for unravelling the threads that bind our collective origin stories, inviting us to examine the interconnections between art, science, spirituality, and cultural heritage. Through an exploration of legends, archaeological discoveries, and visionary philosophy, this collection investigates how myths and shared narratives shape our understanding of our human evolution, foster unity, and inspire positive change.
By engaging with the archeology like Homo Naledi and myths of Crystal Skulls, the concept of the Phoenix, and the visionary perspectives of thinkers like Oscar Wilde and Credo Mutwa, our collection contemplates the potential for collective transformation and cultural redefinition. In a world where past, present, and future intertwine, art emerges as a bridge that connects our shared history with our aspirations for a harmonious world.
The overall feeling is quite otherworldly. Re-imagined, Reclaimed Couture fabrics, combined with Vintage Silks, Cottons, Lamés and Synthetics are combined and juxtaposed with unique artisanal South African Wools, Mohair and a variety of crafted, experimental Suminigashi printed textiles. The inclusion of such a wide spectrum of fabrics, conceptually ties back our shared Origin story, that advocates unity in individuality, rather than separation.
Re-Trace, Re-Memory, Re-Set, Re-Culture represents key VIVIERS signature shapes and sculpted silhouette, this season re-imagined into the past-future. The trapeze shapes and silhouettes combined with our signature sculpted arch shapes, could be considered otherworldly or extraterrestrial in nature. The overall silhouette is powerful, yet not traditionally masculine, but rather more androgynous. The collection represents both the extreme masculine and the extreme feminine, combined commenting on the duality found within all of us. We visualise more inclusive shapes that are accommodating for most body types, disregarding gender.
The palette and textures of the collection is inspired by the James Webb telescope’s picture of newfound galaxies, planets and stars, directly opposed to Madre Tierra’s earthy rocks, sand, bones, fossils, crystals and gold. Some garment resembles the crater surfaces of planets like Mars and the moon or colours that mimic Jupiter, Saturn and our sun. Metallic hues represent our milky way and shooting stars, but also reference our ongoing obsession with Crystalline quartz and the metal Gold.
The collection represents both the extreme masculine and the extreme feminine, combined commenting on the duality found within all of us: Humans, Extraterrestrials, Heaven and Earth.”