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Fashion must change. Lucilla Booyzen explains why

by | Mar 25, 2020

In a matter of days SA Fashion Week’s Spring Summer shows went from being a conventional live event to going digital to being postponed.  Despite this, the work of SA Fashion Week will continue. We asked the event’s founder and director Lucilla Booyzen about her plans and what Covid-19 means to the industry:  

The coronavirus is forcing the fashion industry to adapt and innovate. I hope that every country understands the power of fashion and uses it to encourage a more earth-friendly, truly sustainable industry, starting by changing the status quo in their own countries. There will be a shift in the fashion industry but I cannot predict what and how it will play out. Only time will tell.

In South Africa we need to begin by building local industries. We must not be swept up by the trends forced upon us by the huge conglomerates interested in profit only, the ones that don’t care where they dump the dreadful clothes that don’t sell in their own countries. 

For more than 30 years these giants have forced trends on other countries, creating desires that are based on false aspirations and images. They have destroyed the voices of the designers in different countries, bulldozing them with their bad taste and unsustainable garments. This has led to countries losing their own fashion identities. They have robbed consumers of their individuality, without them realising it.  

I want to see real fashion designed for real people in real time. During this period we want small local designers to go back to basics. They must use their incredible talent to come up with solutions that can get them through this and into the next stage. We’re also encouraging designers to make masks. SAFW sent a pattern to 600 designers in South Africa. We did a costing for them and gave them a recommended price.  

To keep up the momentum of the work we’ve done with local, independent designers, on all our platforms we are posting videos and pictures of the designers’ studios, of them working and telling their stories as well as of past collections and where the collections can be purchased.  The designers cannot afford to lose a season especially not summer which is our biggest season. Summer collections must be in store by August/September.  

The moment the government says it’s safe to resume normal life, we will plan our digital fashion week. We will shoot and publish on all our platforms. We will work with partners to amplify this through their digital channels and through our designers’ social media channels. If you understand the power of the digital world you will understand the power of this. Media that has given the designers the most publicity in the past will have first right of refusal to shoot and publish new collection.There will be one image for each of the designers’ garments as well as video footage.  

We will capture designers’ collections, keeping the crews small and specialised. Even once the coast is clear we will take every precautionary measure to secure the safety of everyone involved.  We will continue to be mindful of ecological guidelines in all decision-making at SA Fashion Week.  

  • Image: @lrphotographysa supplied by SA Fashion Week
  • This interview has been edited
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