The iconic Durban Fashion Fair brought to you by the eThekwini Municipality, has come a long way since 2011, and today this fashion extravaganza, which has become a highlight on the annual fashion calendar, features an array of international, national and emerging designers showcasing their creations on the catwalk.

Being a fashion development department, the DFF takes young, talented designers, New Face potential models and youngsters wishing to venture into hair and make-up, from the ground up, with invaluable mentorship programmes and courses.

In addition to inspiring Durbanites to discover and support home grown design talent, the DFF also provides a platform to grow the all-important supply chain that underpins the city’s fashion industry and throughout the year. The organizers create opportunities for design via pop-up shops and educational workshops, regional as well as main fashion fairs, and the Durban Fashion Fair Emporium – a DFF outlet for Durban designers.

Having had designers participate in the Vodacom Durban July for a number of years, the DFF is once again pleased to have nine of some of its best invited to showcase in this years Butterfly inspired showcase, that has been organised “behind closed doors”.

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused us to live life different, but the spectacular fashion and stellar horseracing signature event that is the Vodacom Durban July still continues, virtually stunning sporting, lifestyle and fashion enthusiasts alike, with an extravaganza of 2020 proportions.

DFF invited designers include DFF 2019 Designer of the year winner (ladies collection) & supplier of the DFF Emporium, Zama Gumede of Zaviar Fashion House. Creative madness genius Lebogang Kekana of Quieteria. DFF2019 collection of the week (ladies collection) winner Kwenzi Nkomo of Indoni Fashion House.

Top three VDJ Classic Male of 2015 Athenkosi Mfungula of LeMFUX. DFF Mentee & VDJ Young Designer Winner 2019 Makhosazane Ntshangase of Sisterz Fellas. Multi-award winning African Fashion Designer who has participated in the DFF since 2017, Kazadi Wilson Mukeya of Victor Fashion Kingdom. Amazing designer who participated in the DFF Milan Internship Programme in 2014, Sandile Mngadi of Duke Clothe Your Soul. New in the industry & 2nd best seller at the Emporium (menswear collection) Njabulo Mlambo of Game Changers, and veteran designers who participated in the DFF mentorship programme hosted in Milan for three years, Shaun Dugen Majola and Nosipho Diko-Mnyaiza of Nguni Shades.

Showcasing their garments will be various models including DFF New Face models. This talent has been discovered and groomed by the City’s fashion development programme over the years. Each year we unearth 20 new talents (20 aspiring models – youth from townships), train and introduce them to the market as they graduate. Eventually, they are signed up by model agency to further their careers.

Beyond the VDJ?
We have planned a staggered programme of the DFF focusing on capacity building, market access, forging partnerships and business support tailor-made for the emerging and growing fashion industry.

As the City, this pandemic has given us time to reflect on how we want to build businesses and nurture talent going forward. With the eThekwini economic recovery plan also focusing on the clothing and textile industry, adopting digital innovation and ecommerce, our talent will be able to reach a wider global community, and will not only be able to recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic, but will thrive.

Our plans include taking our talent to international fashion shows in city’s like London, Paris, New York, Milan, etc. we used to have an international mentorship programme where we took about 20-30 designers to Milan to learn fashion and be mentored by the best in the industry.

We plan to revive that programme but also include models (youth from townships) as there’s great interest in Europe for African models. We also have a DFF Emporium in Umlazi which we want to replicate in each region of the City to support and stimulate township retail and market access opportunities for local designers