The Durban Fashion Fair has evolved into a uniquely eThekwini success story – one which has not only shown the incredible creativity within our beautiful city but also shown our local designers that fashion is, first and foremost, a business.
To date, through internships, training, networking sessions and providing access to markets, the Durban Fashion Fair (or DFF as it is affectionally known) has empowered over 500 designers to take their places in the city’s fashion sector.
Incredible as it is, the DFF started in 2012 as part of the Durban Business Fair with just six shows and 12 designers. Now in it’s eight year, the DFF included new generation designers and established names in the fashion industry as well as Durban designers and creatives from across Africa.
Recognizing that eThekwini had been the centre of South Africa’s clothing and textile industry during the eighties and nineties, eThekwini municipality realised that this was an important sector in which to invest in order to not only create jobs but to nurture local talent that would go on to leave a legacy.
One thing that has remained central to it, though, has been the pre-event mentorship programme under the watchful eye of many of the city’s fashion greats that precedes the shows themselves and prepares 10 new generation designers for internships that change the paths of their careers.
Over the years, DFF has introduced many new things – an evening of shows dedicated to menswear, a model search and an exhibition space for fashion related items such as accessories, shoes, jewelry and make up.
Most importantly, DFF recently introduced the DFF Recognition Awards to honour outstanding designers and encourage up and coming designers to aspire to achieve greatness.
While many of the things that the DFF has embraced are common to other fashion weeks around the world, They have ensured that they continue to be innovative in order to deliver a meaningful contribution to the industry. Every year the programme continues to grow by introducing additional projects!