South Africa’s Soweto gets its fashion week

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Struggling but deserving designers will get a chance to show work inspired by the creativity and history of South Africa’s most famous township in Soweto’s first fashion weekopening Thursday.The township on Johannesburg’s southwestern edge was the natural place for a show for new designers, said 23-year-old entrepreneur and Soweto Fashion Week organizer Stephen Manzini.”You walk around Soweto, you see creativity everywhere,” Manzinisaid. Manzini didn’t ask designers to show extensive collections or charge them take part, unlike the country’s more established fashion weeks. Fashion blogger Mahlatse James says this gives a chance to designers who have not yet made a name to have a chance to show their work to boutique owners and potential investors.”Creatives from Soweto do need their own platform,” James said. “If the other fashion platforms cannot afford them that, they have to create their own.” Manzini acknowledges Soweto Fashion Week is an ambitious title for his three-day showcase of 16 designers. Rehearsals were held in the parking lot and garden of a modest apartment borrowed from a tailor friend, in a northern Johannesburg neighborhood some designers found difficult to reach by taxi van, the main form of cheap mass transportation in South Africa.

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