The fashion development program was initiated a few years back when the Business Support Unit, Markets and Tourism Unit incorporated a fashion show to the Durban Business Fair, which what was then called the SMME Main Fair in 2011. The Unit had partnered with Living Arts and Culture department from PRC Unit where the fashion event was coordinated to give the young Durban designers the opportunity to showcase their latest creation and creativity.
In 2012, EThekwini Municipality – management and council approved the launch of the Durban Fashion Fair which is part of the fashion development program that aims at capacitating the local designers, empower young designers, encourage the culture of entrepreneurship, and facilitate access to market and networking opportunities.
For the past 5 years, the City has invested over R 9 million into the fashion development initiatives that includes business management training, fashion shows, mentorship and international fashion internship. To date, over 100 young designers have been afforded opportunities in various fashion related and lifestyle events.
It should be noted that our industry is facing major challenges that require all of us to collaborate and make it a success. Our primary goal is to make textile and fashion industry viable and sustainable. That will be achieved when we have access to fabric, machinery, market opportunities and more qualified personnel.
The City leadership is engaging with the textile industry with a view to get our industry growing. The City has plans of establishing a fashion incubation facility as part of its long term strategy aiming at creating an enabling environment for our designer’s whilst providing opportunities to the access market, exploring a physical and online shopping. These cannot be addressed by the City alone but we require private sectors and commitment of designers.