Thursday, 10 March 2022 11:35

Unathi Nkayi joins Proudly South African to celebrate SA fashion achievements.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Singer, best selling author, TV producer and media personality, Unathi Nkayi will be meeting some of the biggest names in fashion next week to explore iconic local looks, the importance of localisation and where to next for the industry.

As the host of Proudly South African’s "Mzansi, are you wearing local?" panel session at the upcoming 2022 Buy Local Summit and Expo, Nkayi will be joined by top SA designers to discuss the good, the bad, and the beautiful of the local fashion landscape.

"While South Africa’s local fashion industry is relatively small by international standards, our designers punch well above their weight, and we’re known internationally for our fashion talent," she says.

"This session offers an exciting chance to look back on the industry’s successes, its challenges, and to look ahead in terms of its future. What do we need to take local fashion forward? And what role can the fashion industry play in the country’s socio-economic development? We’re aiming to answer all this and more, so this will be an event not to miss."

An ardent supporter of local designers and a former judge of Idols SA, Nkayi is also known for her work as a radio presenter on Metro FM and Kaya FM, and she is currently the co-host of Star 91.9 FM’s All Star Drive show with Justin Toerien.

The "Mzansi, are you wearing local?" session’s star-studded line-up includes acclaimed local designer Gavin Rajah, famous for his luxury haute couture, who recently collaborated with Pick n Pay Clothing to create a trans-seasonal collection of resort wear. Hangwani Nengovhela of well-known local brand Rubicon will also make an appearance, who in addition to her everyday wear collections has dressed several celebrities including Basetsana Kumalo, Lynn Whitfield, Rami Chuene and Pearl Thusi.

The panel will further be welcoming Sowetan-born designer Sello Medupe of local fashion house SCALO, whose work has been showcased at Torino Fashion Week in Italy, as well as last year’s New York Fashion Week. In addition to its bold wearable clothing, SCALO also boasts achievements such as designing the first African Barbie Doll outfit in 2019, as well as dressing 2018 Miss SA and Miss Universe runner-up Tamaryn Green, and Miss SA 2020 winner Shudufhadzo Musida.

The panel will also feature Tania Macalagh, the co-founder of the popular LESELA Fashion brand, which is known for its modern, elegant Afrocentric designs, and Kealeboga Pule of jewellery manufacturer Nungu Diamonds. Finally, the panel will welcome Sandra Rogers, the co-founder of local clothing and fabric manufacturer KOOP Studios in Lorentzville, who also manages an outlet in the Mall of Africa to showcase young, up-and-coming designers.

The mix of designers and the scope of their work, shows that haute couture can live alongside main stream retail and that local fashion is available to everyone.

Proudly South African Chief Marketing Officer Happy MaKhumalo Ngidi adds that the panel session will aim to dispel the perception that South African clothing designs are of an inferior quality to those made overseas.

"We hope to showcase the amazing homegrown talent and brands currently available, demonstrating that our fashion industry is equal to any in the world," she says.

"Local brands offer outstanding quality and stunning designs with uniquely African aesthetics and appeal that celebrate our heritage and speak to who we are. By incorporating locally made textiles into their clothing ranges, these designers hold enormous power to make a mark in terms of job creation, which is why we’re hoping to show South Africans the many reasons why they should be supporting local brands."

The "Mzansi, are you wearing local?" panel session will be held virtually on Tuesday 15 March 2022 at 16h30. South Africans can register to attend the session at no charge at https://buylocalsummit.co.za/.