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Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards is South African sustainable fashion’s night out

by | Nov 24, 2022

The fourth edition of the Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards are proof that sustainability is at the heart of South African fashion. The annual awards recognise sustainable, circular and ethical fashion. On 17 November designers, makers, fashion visionaries and changemakers gathered at the iconic Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel to celebrate meaningful contributions to a local sustainable and ethical fashion ecosystem.

“With over 100 entries, we are proud to present this year’s winners,” says Jackie May, founder and editor of Twyg. After a week-long judging process, 27 finalists were selected and 10 category winners were announced. The judges for this year were Omoyemi Akerele, Mimma Viglezio, Esethu Cenga, Dr Sipho Mbatha, Fabia Pryor, Nisha Kanabar and Sharon Armstrong.

The 2022 awards are supported by Country Road, Levi’s South Africa, Polo South Africa, SKYY Vodka, Mount Nelson (a Belmond hotel), Curbon, PETCO, Hotel Verde, Goethe Institute, Electric South, British Council, Cape Heritage Hotel, Eco Standard South Africa, Spier and Sunday Times Lifestyle.

The overall winner is Cleo Droomer who won the Changemaker Award presented by Country Road. As a winner of the Innovative Design and Materials Award presented by Polo South Africa, Cleo qualified for the Changemaker category.

Droomer, by Cleo Droomer, has become a space for experiments in social sculpture, public storytelling, and collaborative meaning-making. Central to their concept of sustainability is the idea that for objects to step out of the blind apathetic consumerism, they need to be imbued with meaning, magic, history, and the sacred. Every Droomer garment, is made to connect to a story, resurface a forgotten history, or create a connective aesthetic that brings people closer to the sacred.

“It is so wonderful to embark on a new journey and for your art to be recognised and appreciated when it is such a big departure from where you have been before. I am so appreciative of the opportunity to be seen by the industry, by Twyg, and by Country Road,” says 2022 Changemaker Award winner Cleo Droomer upon accepting his award.

The Changemaker Award, which is not open for entries, is presented to a designer whose career has embraced sustainable and circular design practices. The winners with the highest scores in the design categories (Student, Accessory, Trans-seasonal, Coutts, Innovative Design and Materials Award) were judged against the criteria set for the Changemaker Award.

For the third consecutive year, Country Road has made possible a cash prize of R100 000 for the Changemaker winner. “With our level of commitment to sustainability, it is important that we collaborate with platforms in South Africa that are working towards the same vision to support and promote responsible fashion practices. Over the past two years, our partnership with Twyg has allowed us to support emerging designers that are driving innovation in the fashion industry,” says Fabia Pryor, Country Road Brand Sustainability Manager.

While the awards ceremony honours the winners in each category, the annual occasion of the Twyg Awards is not only a moment to celebrate winners – rather, it is a moment to gather and give thanks to everyone working towards sustainable change in the local fashion industry. MC Danielle Bowler said, “Nights like these are made by the people present in the room.”

To change everything, we need everyone. The 2022 Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards winners and finalists are:

Accessory Award

In recognition of the craftsmanship of sustainable accessories, this award is given to the brand or designer who implements ethical labour practices, limits the use and waste of toxic chemicals as well as utilising sustainable materials.



Katherine-Mary Pichulik receives her award from Goethe Insitut’s Thoriso Moseneke

PICHULIK is an ethical jewellery and accessories atelier. Rooted in Africa, and inspired by ancient traditions, mythology, and cultures around the world, PICHULIK uses the language of African artistry and ornamentation to create sculptural accessories that celebrate empowering feminine narratives. Each piece is a talisman, handcrafted from repurposed rope, and combined with cast brass elements, precious stones, and unexpected organic materials, to create distinctive, sculptural forms.


St Reign

St Reign is a slow fashion, minimalist brand offering handcrafted made-to-order leather bags. Each bag is cut and made by hand from beginning to end. They believe in the merging of craft and design and aim to preserve age-old leather crafting techniques, like the saddle stitch, used by skilled artisans.


Hamethop is a fashion and accessories brand that explores ideas of contemporary art, time, architecture, and place with stylish adornments. Their statement bags and garments hold stories that extend far beyond exterior beauty. They believe that sustainable production begins with centring the people in their supply chain.

Student Award presented by Levi’s®

This award is given to a student whose work challenges the status quo of fashion in creative and innovative ways. It specifically seeks out student designers who engage with environmental and social issues.


Aidan Peters

Aidan Peters receives the award from David Davey of Levi’s® South Africa, the sponsors of the Student Award

This year, fashion student, Aidan Peters, honed in on sustainable practice by creating an upcycled denim two-piece while interning. Searching for practical ways to address fashion’s waste crisis, Aidan embarked on this upcycling journey to turn old, forgotten denim jeans into a reimagined form that gave the fabric a second lease on life and a luxury wear result.


Fashion Students Archive

Maryam Agherdien uses her brand, Fashion Students Archive, as a space to continuously increase her knowledge and improve her upcycling techniques. She strives to be someone who always creates in the most ethical and environmentally conscious manner and her brand incorporates this by transforming textile waste into beautiful garments intended to last a lifetime.


Megan Art created her brand, Artfit, three years ago. The name speaks to the intention of the brand – combining fashion and art with innovation through patterns and sustainability by not buying new fabrics. Megan is an advocate for fair fashion and believes that a crucial part of sustainability is acknowledging people and understanding your responsibility as a designer.

Innovative Design and Materials Award presented by POLO South Africa

This award recognises the designer whose innovation reduces fashion’s impact, through minimising textile waste, reconstruction techniques, or other innovative techniques. Designers should also have a commitment to using sustainable fabrics.



Alia Peers of Polo South Africa sponsors of this category presents Cleo Droomer’s award to Aaniyah Omardien 

Droomer, by Cleo Droomer, has become a space for experiments in social sculpture, public storytelling, and collaborative meaning-making. Central to their concept of sustainability is the idea that for objects to step out of the blind apathetic consumerism, they need to be imbued with meaning, magic, history, and the sacred. Every Droomer garment, is made to connect to a story, resurface a forgotten history, or create a connective aesthetic that brings people closer to the sacred.



VIVIERS is a concept clothing brand that is numbered in limited editions and can be made to measure. VIVIERS celebrates the senses and individuality. While priding themselves in sustainable practice, their collections are made by artisans in Johannesburg at VIVIERS Studio and breathe the spirit of the city, whilst attempting to redefine luxury.


Rethread is a contemporary sustainable clothing brand. Their offering is made up of 3 categories: Upcycled, ‘Sustainably Made’ (garments made locally, in small quantities (between 10 – 30 per style), and Preloved/Vintage garments. Their main focus is upcycling and finding innovative ways to use waste as a resource.

Trans-seasonal Award

The Trans-seasonal Award celebrates the brand, collection or garment that transcends seasons and trends. Through versatility and multi-functionality, these designs are timeless and made to last. Judges also looked for committed to the preservation of garments after sale in repair services.


The BAM Collective

Jaques Bam receives the award from writer, editor and recording artist Sandiso Ngubane

The BAM Collective is a clothing brand that aims to take a joyous, spirited approach to South African luxury fashion. People are the most important part of their business – hence the name “collective”. Employees are provided with safe, stress-free working environments, paid above-average wages, and offered continuous business training. Garments are made-to-measure to ensure the perfect fit and minimise returns and waste.


Sama Sama

Sama Sama creates consciously designed clothing, to allow movement, unrestricted and with compassion for your body. They focus on using good quality natural fabrics or knits, that last forever and “just get better with age”. They are big believers in collaboration, looking to local artists, photographers, and fellow designers, to create unique designs with a shared vision and ethos.

Lesiba Mabitsela Studio

Lesiba Mabitsela Studio is a clothing brand, creative entity, and design house that was established to promote an authentic and contemporary African identity. Guided by a decolonial approach to design and the spirit of Botho, Lesiba Mabitsela asks the question, “what would we have looked like had we not been colonised?” The outcome is a series of limited edition avant-garde apparel runs and a criss-cross of contemporary artistic flair. Their transformable garments accommodate many body shapes and sizes.

African Renaissance Designs

African Renaissance Designs is a culturally conscious brand that celebrates Southern African cultures and traditions. The brand often draws inspiration from attire worn by women in different tribes.

Nicholas Coutts Award

This award is in honour of the late Nicholas Coutts, who explored traditional craft in his beautiful designs. This award, then, recognises the designer whose use of artisanal craft celebrates slow, ethical and sustainable production of fashion.



Shamyra Moodley receives her award from Lindsay Coutts 

Laaniraani’s designs are a fusion of art and fashion with sustainability at their heart. Each unique piece is lovingly handmade in Shamyra Moodley’s home studio with reclaimed T-shirt yarn and donated vintage fabric. The brand pays homage to classical craftsmanship by working with a small, highly skilled team of artisans to create one-of-a-kind, made-to-order, sustainable pieces. Through their up-skilling programme, they create sustainable employment opportunities for local women by teaching them the art of weaving, beading and hand embroidery.


Leandi Mulder

With a deep-rooted connection and understanding of natural fibres and textiles, Leandi Mulder focuses on designing thoughtful, hand-crafted, sustainable designs. Leandi believes that sustainability in fashion requires a holistic and cohesive integration of practices that consider all living beings and environments that act with and within the process. She respects all stages of the value chain: growing, nurturing, harvesting, distributing, design and manufacturing.

Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu

Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu is a young South African brand that aims to strike the ideal balance between style, simplicity, and sustainability. Her designs are based on the idea that every garment tells a story. Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu creates clothing in small batches, with durable fabrics, and tries to prioritise natural fibres wherever possible.

Retail Award

This award is awarded to the retailer or retailing initiative that practices and promotes a sustainable consumption of fashion, such as swap-shops, rental or retailing of sustainably manufactured items.


Merchants on Long

Emma Jordan receives the award on behalf of Merchants on Long from Kokrobitey Institute’s Renée Neblett

South African concept store Merchants on Long celebrates and promotes the best of what the African continent has to offer when it comes to fashion. Opened in 2010, the store has evolved into an international platform for both emerging and established brands from around the continent. Offering a curation of diverse African design, Merchants on Long celebrates luxury and handmade brands that are all sourced and made in Africa.


Petit Fox

Petit Fox is pioneering the circular economy concept in the online kids and maternity clothing sector at a national level. Through buying and selling secondhand clothes for children, Petit Fox aims to make high quality children’s clothes more affordable as well as kinder to the planet. It uses local suppliers and couriers as well as plastic-free packaging to lower the service’s carbon footprint. Petit Fox hopes to destigmatise secondhand clothes.

WISI-Oi Marketplace

WISI-Oi stands for “Wear It. Sell It. Own It”, and is pronounced wee see-owe-eye. It is a peer-to-peer resale marketplace where you can sell new and gently-worn clothes and shop preloved fashion. They are not only on a mission to extend the lifespan of existing garments, but also to empower people to make money from clothes they no longer wear.

Influencer Award

This award recognises the personality or influencer that has produced content over the last 12 months to promote slow fashion. By using fashion communication, the influencer could also intersect with issues of inclusivity and environmental issues to spark important conversations while supporting circular fashion practices.


Khensani Mohlatlole

Sunday Times Lifestyle editor Andrea Nagel presents the award to Khensani Mohlatlole

Khensani Mohlatlole is a widely respected voice when it comes to critical discussions about the intersection of fashion and sustainability. Khensani writes and creates video content around ethics, sustainability, history, and cultural conservation through fashion. Her striking sense of personal style and the sewing processes she shares while creating her unique adornments are captivating and showcase low-waste practices. She aims to offer practical solutions to contemporary issues.


Xzavier Zulu

Xzavier Zulu is a respected and prominent voice in fashion and sustainability circles in South Africa. Denim became his material of choice, because of the accessibility he had to it through thrifting in Johannesburg’s inner city. His work with upcycling democratises sustainability and aims to show that there are many accessible ways to create a positive impact.


Bhungane Mehlomakulu creates stylish and fun upcycled garments using waste materials. Through his garments and line of tote bags, Bhungane’s work also aims to amplify powerful messages relating to anti-racism, anti-sexism, diversity, homophobia, and inclusivity.

CMT or Manufacturer Award

This award is presented to a ‘Cut Make Trim’ or manufacturer that is environmentally and socially conscious and demonstrates ethical practices as well as a commitment to reducing environmental impact.


Sparrow Society

Rewoven’s chief operating officer Tshepo Bhengu presents this award to Kate Brim-Senekal of Sparrow Society 

Sparrow Society is a women’s empowerment brand working to create as much economic opportunity for women as possible to subvert gender-based violence and other social inequalities that people who identify as women face. They are in the business of creating options – real options – options for a better future, a safer future, and a more empowered future.


Gerber & Co.

Started in 2017, Gerber & Co. has created a vertical supply chain, with garments made from hand-sheered, 100% organic Namaqualand Merino Wool. The final offering is trans seasonal wardrobe essentials made from high-quality fibres. People and community are two of the biggest focusses at Gerber and Co. Wool is 100% biodegradable and their offcut wool is used to plant fruits on their farm, improving the quality of the Namaqualand soil.

Woodstock Laundry

Woodstock Laundry is a small tight-knit business made up of a diverse group of talented individuals who don’t have genetic ties but consider one another as family. Their vision is to create a global South African loungewear brand out of ethically sourced fabrics and timeless comfortable garments that families want to wear all of the time. They want to reinvigorate the local clothing manufacturing industry.

Textile Makers or Mill Award

As the production of local fabrics is integral to sustainability, this award seeks to reward as well as encourage the production of preferred textiles including that use natural, regenerative and recycled fibres and non-toxic dyes.



PETCO South Africa’s marketing manager Kara Levy presents the award to Joy Ezeka

ZURI and IMANI is a surface pattern and textile design studio renowned for its original and exclusive pattern print designs and colours. The design studio’s portfolio includes our core products – a collection of coats, with complementary products scarves, as well as textiles. To eliminate waste, the studio only prints what is needed for production which also allows them to conserve water and energy.


Adele’s Mohair

Comfort and practicality are prioritised in the design of Adele’s Mohair products. The aim to produce designer knitting yarns, accessories and home textiles that can be washed and worn multiple times, is at the centre of their designs. Natural fibres of mohair (from Angora goats) and Merino wool (from sheep) are locally sourced and of the finest quality. They recycle all their yarns and waste and have 4 distinct recycled yarns that they sell. They also offer a repairs service on all items.

Changemaker Award presented by Country Road

This award recognises a designer whose career has embraced sustainable and circular design practices. The recipient’s collection/s will have helped raise awareness of environmental and social issues. This designer demonstrates a commitment to promoting slow consumer fashion habits. The Changemaker Award winner is chosen from the finalists of each category.

Droomer, by Cleo Droomer, won this year’s Changemaker Award presented by Country Road.

Cleo, who was in Egypt for COP27, was unable to attend the event. Here is a clip of him receiving the news of his award.

We want to extend a huge thank you to each person in the room for making this year’s Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards a success. And without our sponsors and partners this annual project would not be possible. We are grateful to the following brands and organisations for their support: Country Road, Levis South Africa, Polo South Africa , SKYY Vodka, Mount Nelson (a Belmond hotel), Curbon, PETCO, Hotel Verde, Goethe Institute, Electric South, British Council, Cape Heritage Hotel, Eco Standard South Africa, Spier and Sunday Times Lifestyle.

  • Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards 2022 images: Photos by Tash Singh
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