The influx of cheap imports from China is reported to have led to the loss of nearly two-thirds of the clothing sector’s jobs over the past two decades. As a means of calling for change and imposing action on retailers, the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union staged protests outside malls across the country to pressure retailers to buy locally. A slight turnaround has been reported after the government invested more than R2bn in upgraded production lines and more innovative technology as a means of boosting the local industry. Furthermore, retailers have also stepped up by ensuring stronger participation in support of the growth of the local creative industry. Retail giant, Woolworths, has been at the forefront of local fashion since 2003, being the first large retailer to create opportunities for and celebrate South African designers.
AN INTRO TO STYLEBYSA
Alongside the launch of their Summer 2014 range, the leading retailer introduced the STYLEBYSA concept, through a ground-breaking competition in an effort to revolutionise how fashion is styled and represented in South Africa. Open to Woolworths customers and fashionistas from far and wide, the STYLEBYSA competition called on fashion savvy socialites and fashionistas to “don their most cutting-edge style and swag” and upload these images onto Instagram using the #stylebysa hashtag. Thirteen fashion-forward South Africans were chosen to be a part of Woolworths advertising campaign, including fashionistas Thuli Mola, Tshepi Vundla and Miahs Moloto to name a few. Instagram model and digital influencer Tshepi Vundla went on to win the bonus prize; two all expenses paid tickets to New York and an opportunity to attend New York Fashion Week in February 2015.
For its AW15 campaign, Woolworths tapped industry influencers including bloggers, stylists and presenters to front the campaign. The brand once again partnered with young creatives from across South Africa from model Chelsea Rose, Blogger Sarah Langa, Photographer Trevor Stuurman, Former Miss SA Teen Celeste Khumalo, TV Presenter KNaomi and Influencer Tshepi Vundla. Other creatives that have headlined campaigns for the brand include stylists such as Siya Beyile, Papama Ramogase, and Boogy Maboi. The STYLEBYSA property has since evolved to be one of the most impactful initiatives to hit the SA fashion industry from a brand.
The Woolworths STYLEBYSA platform acknowledges the notable strides made by designers in our local fashion industry. Through the platform, the brand continues to create an environment that enables for more local stories to be told through fashion and making South African designers and brands more accessible and recognisable to consumers.
SA FASHION WEEK COLLABORATION
Woolworths took its commitment to celebrating South African fashion further by launching its highly-anticipated STYLEBYSA seasonal campaign at SA Fashion Week. Positioned to showcase the creations of some of the local fashion industry’s most creative minds, the capsule collection featured the work of eight designers, namely Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu, AKJP, Pichulik, Maria McCloy, Sol-Sol, Selfi and Young & Lazy. According to the brand, the partnership with SAFW prioritises fast-tracking South African fashion from the runway to the rails, with the collection being made available online straight from the runway – a first for SAFW.
“As a passionate South African retailer, we want to boost the visibility and viability of local designers. The quality of the work that has been showcased thus far and the response to it, is compelling proof of the incredible local talent the South African fashion industry has on offer,’’ said Charmaine Huet, Woolworths’ group director of Marketing and Sustainability.
It is a pleasure to present our second GUIDE issue, themed The STYLE Edition, in collaboration with Woolworths SA. For this edition, we wanted to celebrate South African fashion and applaud Woolworths for their role in the upliftment of the industry and the distribution of local design work. Our STYLE Edition cover features the STYLEBYSA capsule collection, as seen at SA Fashion Week Autumn/Winter ’19. At GTC, we pride ourselves for being the ultimate destination for outstanding brand collaboration news, and the collaboration between Woolworths and SA Fashion Week is nothing short of iconic. We hope you will enjoy embarking on the fashion week journey we explored for this STYLE Edition, chronicling the ins and outs of our modeling industry, beauty sponsorships, with the hopes of bringing you closer to the wealth of talent in SA.
This season’s STYLEBYSA capsule collection as seen on the SAFW runway features designers including; Thebe Magugu, MMUSOMAXWELL, Wanda Lephoto, The Watermelon Social Club and RICH MNISI is available for purchase on www.woolworths.co.za.