Equilibrio recently had the pleasure of attending the Edcon and Proudly South African “Heritage Through Fashion” themed runway show. Edcon, South Africa’s largest non-food retailer, and Proudly South African have teamed up to promote the “buy local” campaign in South Africa. The show previewed young, local fashion design talent, and the new Spring/Summer collections which Edcon will be stocking come November 2017. The event was opened and closed by the fabulously talented David Tlale and featured pieces from the collections of the alumni of Edcon’s pilot Design Innovation Challenge intern program.
We are impressed by Edcon’s commitment to and investment in rebuilding the fashion industry in South Africa. Once a dynamic and productive sector, the local clothing and textile industry was systematically decimated by the influx of cheap imports and international retailers landing on our shores. Edcon is supporting local fashion through both its investment in new talent via its intern program, and by increasingly stocking more local fashion in their stores.
Something we didn’t know is that Edcon is South Africa’s only Proudly South African accredited fashion retailer. This requires that, inter alia, at least 50% of the cost of production must be incurred in South Africa AND the “product must be of a proven high quality”. Over the past 3 years, Edcon has increased the number of locally manufactured lines stocked in its stores from 18% to over 50%. This is now going to include lines from their Design Innovation Challenge as well as the introduction of established high-end designers such as David Tlale.
When we started Equilibrio, our vision was clear: we want to support ethical businesses in the local fashion and beauty industry, producing quality products. True, the industry is still very small, but the future is certainly brighter with the support of large, forward-thinking, local retailers like Edcon promoting our young design talent.
THE EDCON DESIGN INNOVATION CHALLENGE
The Edcon Design Innovation Challenge is a three-month education and mentoring “21 Steps to Retail” programme, launched in September 2016. The aim is to provide young designers with the skills and a potential platform to launch their own fashion businesses. Out of 45 entrants from various Gauteng design colleges, 16 finalists were selected and placed in one-year internships within the Edgars and Jet chains to give them hands-on experience. Truly an amazing opportunity for these young designers trying to build a name and brand in the local fashion industry.
The success of the Challenge in discovering and nurturing local talent is evident in the designs for the final 9 men’s and women’s wear designers showcased at the runway show. We’ve included some pictures of a few of our favourite pieces from the women’s wear ranges.
EDCON IS GIVING BACK
The Design Innovation Challenge is yet another of Edcon’s CSI and development initiatives in the fashion retail industry. Through the Edgars UNiTE Orange Day Campaign, Edgars, together with various partners, is facilitating the training of women from shelters in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and more recently, the Western Cape, in sewing and basic fashion elements. The aim is to advance skills development and entrepreneurship among survivors of gender-based violence. The initiative entails three months of accredited training in sewing, followed by three months of work placement. For some, it is truly a life-changing initiative.
AVAILABLE IN-STORE FROM NOVEMBER 2017
What’s really exciting is that the collections of these local designers will now be easily accessible and available to us. David Tlale’s vibrant collection “David by David Tlale” will be available in Edgars stores from November 2017.
The ranges of the Design Innovation Challenge finalists will be available in selected Edgars stores (Mall of Africa, Sandton City, Mall of the North, Gateway Mall, Century City, and Menlyn) around the same time. Keep a look out and be sure not to miss your opportunity to buy fresh, local designs from a seriously talented bunch of creatives.