Finally, the night arrived to celebrate and recognise local designers’ who innovate and create beautiful, sustainable fashion.The inaugural Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards event attracted more than 100 designers, retailers and environmental activists at the Rooftop on Bree in Cape Town last night. Seven awards were announced, with Amanda Laird Cherry taking home the Changemaker award. The other winners are Lukyanho Mdingi, Sindisi Khumalo, Sealand Gear, The Ethical Market, Katenkani Moreku and Clive Rundle. For the complete list of finalists and winners see below.

Special mention was given to designers Laduma Ngxokolo, Rich Mnisi, Palesa Mokubung, Sindiso Khumalo and Thebe Magugu for their international recognition and for their work in cultural sustainability. African Fashion Research Institute’s co-founder Erica de Greef says, “These designers are on the forefront of creatively re-imagining (and decolonising) African fashion, by fashioning new stories, located in colour, practices, and materials that are culturally sensitive, relevant, recuperative and celebratory”.

Founder and editor of Twyg, Jackie May says, “We straddle the space between environmental activism and the fashion world to offer support and to communicate best fashion practices from around the world and best South African fashion practices to the world.” She says, “There is an urgent need for a deep transformation of how we live and how we do business”.

PETCO was the headline sponsor while Spier, Cotton SA, KZN Fashion Council and Cape Town Fashion Council gave support too. Arambrook Boutique Hotel, Hotel Verde and Parker Cottage accommodated the Twyg guests. Climate Neutral Group offset the winners and judges’ flights to Cape Town.

PETCO is the PET plastic recycling company. Janine Osborne says, “PETCO is proud to be the sponsor for the inaugural Sustainable Fashion Awards. We believe that, if we are to see any major changes towards a sustainable future for all South Africans, our attitudes towards both the fashion and the food we consume needs to change. It’s through initiatives like the Sustainable Fashion Awards that these critical conversations can take place and meaningful change is perpetuated.”

Mzukise Mbane of Imprint ZA designed a dress sponsored by Cotton SA, showcasing a 100% South African value chain: the cotton was grown in South Africa, woven by SvenMill in Cape Town, and the textile was designed by Lesego Maloka of Pone Creatives.

Twyg is working with organisations such as the World Wide Fund, Fashion Revolution, The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union, the African Fashion Research Institute and SA Fashion Week to further its work of facilitating the transformation of the industry. SACTWU says the South African clothing and textile industry’s future growth path has to be based on sustainability, both in terms of our environmental impact and how workers are paid and treated. Twyg’s mission is to gather resources, disseminate research and make this accessible to designers, while its storytelling platform guides consumers in responsible lifestyle choices.

The judges for the 2019 Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards are: Dr Desiree Smal, senior lecturer in the department of fashion design at the University of Johannesburg; Cyril Naicker, CEO of Imprint Luxury, the country coordinator of Fashion Revolution South Africa; Kelly Fung, content director of Superbalist; Fezile Mdletshe-Mkhize, PhD candidate, lecturer at Durban University of Technology and founder of Fezile Fashion Schools Academy; and Aaniyah Omardien, the director The Beach Co-op.

The finalists and the winners of the seven awards are:

Retail Award

This award recognises a retailer or a retailing initiative that enhances sustainability, including pre-loved/gently worn, “swop shops”, garment rental, and similar activities. The award is also open to retailers who support local producers, and sustainable design and manufacturing.

The Winner

The Ethical Market
“The Ethical Market is a gentle, slow approach to retail,” says May. Judge Desiree Smal says, “We need more of these”. The next pop up will be hosted in 2020 in the meantime, you can visit founder of The Ethical Market Emma Longden’s Sitting Pretty store in the Gardens Centre, Cape Town. Janine Obsborne of PETCO handed the award to Emma.

The Finalists

The Ethical Market
Vintage with Love:
Sealand Gear

 

Innovative Design and Materials Award

This award seeks to recognise a designer who uses techniques that minimise textile waste through innovative pattern cutting, the use of pre- and post-consumer fabric waste, and / or reconstruction techniques. The award also seeks to recognise a commitment to using sustainable fabrics in a collection.

The Winner

Lukhanyo Mdingi

“Lukhanyo takes into account every detail of the process from the source of textile to the hands that create it, leading to a cleverly designed garment that the wearer will want to use for a lifetime. He captures the meaning of modern luxury while navigating the path to a sustainable future,” says Kelly Fung who handed over the award.

The Finalists

Lukhanyo Mdingi
Amanda Laird Cherry
Marianne Fassler

Student award

This award goes to a student who has produced a garment or collection that addresses the challenges of sustainability in fashion in the most innovative, beautiful and practical way.

The Winner

Katekani Moreku

“Katekani Moreku is testament to what is possible in slow fashion. I was really happy to see this collection as it is proof that you can design something ‘new’ from re-used items. It takes a conscious designer to see this opportunity,” says Cyril Naicker.

The Finalists

Dorcas Mutombo
Katekani Moreku
Kirsten Goosen

 

Sustainable Accessory Award

This award recognises an accessory or accessory brand which implements ethical labour practices, limits toxic chemicals and uses sustainable materials to create a quality item and considers end-of-life. Ideally it should be made of compostable materials, but, if not, it should be made using recyclable or recycled materials.

The Winner

Sealand Gear

“Sustainability has been embedded as a core brand value long before this became fashion. Not only are Sealand accessories upcycled and recycled, they are fashionable, look great, are made well and are good for the environment,” says Cyril Naicker who handed over the award to Jasper Eales of Sealand Gear.

The Finalists

Roche. Recycle. Relove.
Sealand Gear
Stonehill Originals

 

Trans-seasonal Award

This award recognises a collection, brand or designer who promotes trans-seasonal and versatile style. It rewards quality garments whose design aspires to be timeless and which are made to last. This category also recognises brands that remain invested in garments after their sale, for example, through the provision of lifetime guarantees or repair services.

The Winner

Sindiso Khumalo (who is currently in Milan)

“Sindiso Khumalo has a strength in keeping staple silhouettes that are renewed through fresh botanical geometrics, colours and prints. With her clean handwriting and choice of fabrication, her garments are able to travel from season to season making them exceptionally timeless. That’s her winning formula,” says Fezile Mdletshe-Mkhize.

The Finalists

Asha Eleven
Erre
Sindiso Khumalo
Amanda Laird Cherry

 

Nicholas Coutts Award

This award recognises a designer who uses artisanal craft techniques such as weaving, embroidering or botanical dying to make fashion that foregrounds, celebrates and values the skills of the person who makes the garment.

The Winner

Clive Rundle

“Clive Rundle remains unbeaten when it comes to experimenting with fabric manipulating techniques! His garments consistently possess strong technical features that give his handwriting an authentic DNA,” says Fezile Mdletshe. Lucilla Booyzen announced the winner and Nicholas Coutts’ mother Lindsay handed over the award to Clive.

The Finalists

Frances van Hasselt x Leandi Mulder
Clive Rundle
Erre

Changemaker award

This award recognises a designer whose career has embraced sustainable and circular design practices. The recipient’s collections will have helped raise awareness of environmental and social issues. Criteria include choice of fabric, ethical labour practices, the extent of upcycling, the reduction of waste, and the use of non-toxic dyes. This designer demonstrates a commitment to promoting slow consumer fashion habits.

The Winner

Amanda Laird Cherry

“The team at Amanda Laird Cherry has actively sought to make significant changes in their manufacturing process to ensure textile waste is minimised. From clever upcycling to choosing to use locally made fabric, each step in their process demonstrates a considered and consistent commitment to ethical fashion practices, without ever compromising on the dynamic aesthetic of their collections,” says Kelly Fung. Jackie May handed the award to Zwelisha Giampietri of Amanda Laird Cherry.

The Finalists

Clive Rundle
Sealand Gear
Amanda Laird Cherry

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists.