These fashion luminaries have shone a spotlight on local fashion over the years.
ERROL ARENDZ A true pioneer in the 1980s, Errol Arendz’ jet set glamour made him a household name, a rarity for a non-white South African, in the dark days of apartheid.
SONWABILE NDAMASE It was in 1990 that he would create a shirt for Nelson Mandela, who was looking for a garment which was “a combination of Europe and Africa” and reflected the casual style of South Africa, where the majority of people never wear formal clothes such as shirts. And so the Madiba shirt was born.
MARIANNE FASSLER Known for her obsession with leopard prints (her label is even called Leopard Frock), this flaming red-haired designer is known for being the first local designer to have a dress on the Oscars red carpet, worn by American actress Alfre Woodard, and for creating the Madiba ballgown, with Nelson Mandelas faced emblazoned on it back in 1994.
DAVID TLALE A flair for the dramatic has turned this Vosloorus-born designer into a household name in South Africa. As the first local designer to have a solo show at New York Fashion Week in February 2014, his flamboyant style is causing international waves.
MARC BOUWER His dressed everyone from Angelina Jolie to Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey to Whitney Houston, and throw in Mariah Carey, Heidi Klum, and even Paris Hilton. Phew! New York based couturier Marc Bouwer is undeniably Hollywood’s favourite South African-born designer. But it is the sumo inspired red number he put Toni Braxton in for the grammys, and the ivory gown Jolie wore to the Oscars in 2004, which has made Bouwer known the world over.
GAVIN RAJAH Larger than life this Durban-born designer truly understands how to celebrate the female form – the revealing gown he created for supermodel Candice Boucher in Cannes 2011 was emblazoned in tabloids across the globe – and kickstarted the global trend for sheer couture.
STONED CHERRIE Arriving on the local fashion scene in 2000, Stoned Cherrie quickly gained a following for their vibrant designs, paying homeage to “the shebeen queens, the bold intellectuals, the sparkly 50’s cover girls and the urban energy that continues to sweep over the gettos of South Africa”. Their Steve Biko t-shirts struck a nerve and winning the Lifetime Achievement award at the esteemed Catherine Awards just five years later, cemented their place in the annals of local fashion history.