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 was then called the SMME Main Fair in 2011. The Unit had partnered with the 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 creations and creativity.
In 2012, eThekwini Municipality’s management and council approved the launch of the Durban Fashion Fair which is part of the fashion development program that aims at capacitating local designers, empowering young designers, encouraging the culture of entrepreneurship, and facilitating access to market and networking opportunities.
For the past 7 years, the City has generously invested in the fashion development initiatives that include business management training, fashion shows, mentorship and an 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 of growing the industry. The City has plans of establishing a fashion incubation facility as part of its long-term strategy aiming at creating and enabling an environment for our designer’s whilst providing opportunities to access the market, exploring both physical and online shopping. These cannot be addressed by the City alone but we require private sectors and the commitment of designers.