ARTS THREAD met up with Bryan Ramkilawan, CEO of the Cape Town Fashion Council (CTFC) at Design Indaba to find out about local, emerging fashion designers in Cape Town and the CTFC’s involvement in promoting young designers.
ARTS THREAD: Tell us about the role of the Cape Town Fashion Council in supporting new designers in South Africa
Bryan Ramkilawan: Our main objective is developing designers and design graduates in South Africa. We have grown from 10 designers in 2012 to 20 in 2013.
There’s a lot of market access that’s required for young designers and that’s basically one of the biggest challenges which they are faced with. With an audience of 40 000 people at Design Indaba Expo, we are finding that such platforms are more beneficial for designers to grow their brands than fashion weeks.
Just to talk numbers, we retailed about R320,000 ($35,000 £23,000) here last year and I think this year the target is over R1,2 million ($132,000 £87,000). That has a direct impact on job creation in South Africa and building the brands abroad.
There is a variety of designers represented at Design Indaba. We have key designers like Rosenwerth and Thula Sindi, those are our “anchor brands” in the process. The smaller, younger brands that we fund, we see as the future of the design industry in South Africa. We have invested a lot into them and they find it inspirational to work alongside established designers. All the fashion shows at Design Indaba are exclusive to the CTFC, which means more promotion of the brands we support, especially the emerging designers.
AT: That’s great! And can you tell us about the hanger installation above the fashion retail space?
BR: The hanger installation is inspired by Man Ray’s installation done in 1908. We attempted to break the Guinness World Book of Records with the amount of hangers, the last of which was hung by the Mayor of Cape Town who is a key supporter of the fashion sector.
For more information on Cape Town Fashion Council