Words: Aluwani Ratshiungo | Images: SDR Photo and SAFW | Video: Thato Maluleke

Three days in and there’s a funky smell in the air; is SA fashion stale or is it just the designers showing at South African Fashion Week? Chinese designer, Chu Yan’s exceptional collection in comparison to all the other presentations we’ve been seeing throughout the week made it clear that most local designers play it too safe and lack passion.


From classy dresses with frills and ruffles to bodysuits under mesh tops, the collection married edge, simplicity and sophistication. The colour palette was subdued – black, white, grey and burnt olive.

Sun Goddess

This presentation looked like it was just an assortment of garments put together for the sake of showcasing; there was hardly any cohesion, bar for a few garments here and there made from the same fabric. Everything else was all over the place.

Vintage Zionists

Vintage Zionists gave us Rockstar chic vibes with asymmetrical suede mini-skirts, mesh tops, cute leather jackets with shoulder cut-outs all in black. Though it was a brisk presentation, the edgy collection was refreshing after a few days of seeing such lazy designs.


Chu Yan

The Chinese influence in Chinese designer, Chu Yan’s designs was hard to miss even though the inspiration was not necessarily translated in a literal sense. The garments had an oriental aesthetic with a modern twist while still maintaining the regalness and elegance found in Chinese fashion not to mention the excellent fabric choices and beautiful colour combinations.

From pleated palazzo pants and long flowy dresses to wide leg pants and peplum jackets that didn’t look outdated in orange, cream, green, pink, grey and turquoise hues and accessorised with gold cuff bracelets and rings by Angela Yeung of Impilo Collection, the collection was dreamy and wondrous.

The only thing that let the designer down was her menswear. The pants were too tight around the thighs (yes, even for skinny guys) and jackets were bulky around the shoulders. She should only stick to womenswear.


See our Day 3 recap here.