Pioneering The South African Fashion Philosophy

Since our arrival on the fashion scene almost 10 years ago, the Cape Town Fashion Council has made groundbreaking local and international developments which have seen a boom in the fashion design industry of Cape Town.

We are a non-profit organisation, headed by CEO Bryan Ramkilawan, whose vision of expanding existing strategic partnerships, and furthering our aims of representing, developing and supporting growth of the Western Cape fashion sector, continues.

We are a firm supporter of all of the major Fashion Weeks in Cape Town and Johannesburg, in addition to the Fashion Weeks in Africa and internationally. As part of our Export Development Programme, we provide funding and infrastructure to designers who would ordinarily not have the access or means to participate.

We have also brought a new element into the market through Fashion Films, partnering with the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South African International Fashion Film Festival, the first of its kind in South Africa. Local and international designers and filmmakers now have a platform for building their brand and growing their fashion industry links globally.

Other projects include trade fairs and pop-up stores, such as the annual Design Indaba Expo, where designers participate in fashion shows and retail, and interact with clients and buyers. These projects are designed to provide access to markets, which is one part of our four core programmes that also include enterprise development for SMMEs; product development and innovation; and youth career development. These programmes are aimed at impacting on job creation and improving the contribution to GDP along the entire clothing value chain.

Our belief in ethics has seen many partnerships with various humanity projects, including Fashion Revolution, which is aimed at educating both designers and consumers about local business. “If we want to create an ethos of people wanting to buy local, we have to make sure the consumer is educated about local,” says Bryan.

Another vital component is our Workshops Programme, which is positioned to empower the growing number of fashion designers, supplementing their knowledge to build their brand. With top industry facilitators, our courses range from marketing and social media to design and production, and fundamental business tools to gain easier access into the market. We also introduce a business perspective to designers, as Bryan believes: “What makes a good designer is a balance between creativity and business.”

Our headquarters are fully equipped with a designer tech station, which designers can use pro bono in order to upskill themselves, especially those who have no access to sewing machines, for example. “Our Innovation Centre offers designers a fantastic laboratory to explore new ideas and experiment with the latest technologies.”

We have also linked partnerships to other Fashion Councils in Africa, to extend our reach and become an integrated force, instead of an isolated one. “I want to build and broaden our collaborative efforts and link to other cities throughout Africa,” says Bryan – together strengthening the power of the industry.

  • For more info about the Cape Town Fashion Council contact Sumaiya De’Mar on admin@ctfc.co.za, 021 461 1498 or www.ctfc.co.za@ctfc_za

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