Durban – As anticipation builds for the premiere of the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase presented by Durban Fashion Fair at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping on Saturday night, the designers have given a sneak preview into their interpretation of the “Stars of Africa” theme.

Zama Mathe, the force behind the Zarth label is excited about exploring the history of the Cullinan diamond.

“The theme led me to perhaps one of the greatest Stars of Africa and it’s untold story. It is the story of a nation’s wealth taken. The story of a land’s pain and suffering that’s flaunted for the world to see,” said Zama.

“My collection tells a story of a land rich and thriving in itself, that was torn apart by war and greed that led to immense bloodshed from our forgotten heroes, those fallen heroes should be affirmation that Africa in itself is a star in the world.

“A gem that is the centrepiece of the kingdoms cultivated from bloodshed. Let this star of Africa be celebrated, but never the scars of Africa be forgotten,” said Zama.

Bridgit Pickering and Ludwig Bausch of RuffTung promise to deliver a glittering spectacle as they turn to blue sequins to reflect the African night sky.

“Midnight blue and silver sequins mimic the night sky taking our Afro futuristic inspired silhouettes to the next level – bold, structured, shimmering fluidity reflecting the future of Africa,” said Pickering.

“It was inspired by the royal-blooded stars who influence our fashion direction each season. Blue blood brings with its nobility, prestige, power, and influence – which is exactly what the Vodacom Durban July is all about,” Bausch added.

Kathrin Kidger used the colour black for the inspiration of her range. “This powerful colour has so much historical meaning in various cultures and for me epitomizes power , luxury, poverty and humility that are contrasting concepts and the very mysterious values that I see reflected in our beautiful continent.

“The concept of Afro-futurism is my fixation. For me the importance of physically manifesting our future with a strong “Africanism” is important to our future outlooks. It gives us a fresh start free of previous mind-sets, and that is way more global and forward thinking – more importantly lead by Africa.

“I have used textures that reflect, glimmer and generate interest in every piece crafted. Burn out chiffons, velvets, and sportslux detailing makes the looks somewhat functional, somewhat fantasy.

She added that the classic raceday elegance aligned with classic African tradition.

“It has long been assumed that a raceday look should essentially be short, or at least functional; but particularly in the northern parts of our beautiful continent, woman only wear long garbs which we felt compelled to represent,” she added.

Amanzimtoti-based Madelain Clark has turned to the African landscape for her inspiration.

“The beautiful, bold desert dunes, the seemingly endless, powerful oceans and the golden stars, shining bright in the African night skies. It is in these places that I can honestly say I find my soul,” said Clark. ” These naturally beautiful terrains have inspired the natural, calm pallet of colours I have used throughout my range.

“Sophistication and class remained top of mind throughout the creation of each piece, as I believe that these two aspects are synonymous with the Vodacom Durban July. They are also crucial aspects required for African design and fashion to be recognised on a global scale.

“We, as Africa’s designers and fashion loving individuals, need to showcase the unique and incredible talent that we have. All eyes are on us and we are ready to shine like the stars we are!” She added.

Hangwani Nengovhela, the driving force behind the label Rubicon, has taken her inspiration from shapes synonymous with African geography to celebrate glamour with sophistication.

“Our aim is to make the ‘old’ new again while giving traditional silhouettes, fabrics, and styles a modern twist. We use subtle art forms and draw from the traditional South African cultural landscape,” says Nengovhela.

“We create for a modern Rubicon woman who seeks a connection to her traditional roots. She lives and breaths with the spirit, the power, and the rhythm of Africa running through her, and she dresses herself accordingly,” she added.

Brenda Quin of Diva Designs has looked to Ndebele culture for her collection, and has turned to one personality in particular.

“In our melting pot of different cultures my inspiration has come from the Ndebele nation with a twist of Zulu infused into a style that celebrates one of our legendary artist Dr Ester Mahlangu,” said Quin.

Mxolisi Mkhize of the House of St Luke has entitled his collection “Under the African Sky”.

“Africa is a focal point at the current moment, with designers looking at Africa to seek inspiration,” says Mkhize.

Kloof-based designer Karen Monk Klijnstra says she has decided to borrow from various cultures on the African continent, using an unusual array of fabric and beadwork she found at the Woza Moya store in Hillcrest.

“I am wanting to do a popular culture, heady mix of what Africa is all about and what we, as Africans, stand for,” she says.

“Something that speaks volumes about the complexity and diversity, the pattern, colour and texture that is this amazing continent, a melting pot of culture. Heady delicious tastes and aromas – things that are almost edible!”

Tickets for the Vodacom Durban July Preview Fashion Show are available through Webtickets and include well known entertainers, a VIP area with snacks and a limited open bar.

Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase presented by Durban Fashion Fair invitees:
Brenda Quin (Diva Designs), Ludwig Bausch and Bridget Pickering (Ruff Tung), Mxolisi Mkhize (House of St Luke), Hangwani Nengovhela (Rubicon), Karen Monk Klijnstra (KMK), Kathrin Kidger (Kathrin Kidger of South Africa), Madelain Clark (Madsexclusive), Zama Mathe (Zarth)