True Fashion initiative makes it to Merchants on Long

Arts and Creative Industries

Launched in 2021, the True Fashion initiative is a mentorship programme, by the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), focused on cultivating sustainable practices in fashion. It has empowered young designers from South Africa and France with insights into community engagement, material sustainability, entrepreneurship, and design prowess, among other areas.

The curriculum, developed in partnership with stakeholders from both countries, including fashion school Casa93, Daily Maverick’s culture editor Emilie Gambade and sustainability championing institutions, Twyg and the African Fashion Research Institute, emphasised cooperation and cross-cultural learning. True Fashion started in 2021 with the support of IFAS and the Goethe Institute and was then supported by Institut Français in Paris, City of Paris and IFAS. 

All encompassing, the project has seen mentees through accessing mentors like Lukhanyo Mdingi, building in depth farm to retail understandings of material sustainability through mohair, and showcasing at Paris Fashion Week this early in their careers, the programme has taken the young designers to new heights. Through an annual selection, mentors pared the cohort of seven imminent fashion designers to a French-South African design duo: Khumo Morojele and Isis Christana Mbango.

These two designers are now showing their collection ‘From Me, To You’ at Merchants on Long for the next four weeks. Comprising six womenswear pieces, you can view the full collection and contact the designers here

The ‘From me, To You’ collection draws inspiration from 1960s West and South African photographers like Malick Sidibe and Z.J.S Ndimande. It celebrates black life amidst adversity, blending family portraiture from that era with contemporary Western cultural influences. Utilising experimental techniques such as upcycling and deconstruction, the designers explore the interplay between past and present, tradition and modernity.

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