On October 5, 2023, in line with the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Türkiye, a stylish fashion show was held at the Mall of Africa. The event, hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Türkiye in Pretoria, showcased a fashion show where guests could appreciate a beautiful combination of tradition and innovation with the Anatolian fashion show of Izmir Olgunlaşma Institute. The fashion event, organized under the leadership of H.E. Ms. Ambassador Ayşegül Kandaş, was enjoyed by members of the diplomatic community, SA government ministers, and other distinguished guests and friends of Türkiye.

Izmir Olgunlaşma Institute, whose purpose is to increase awareness of Turkish textiles, which constitute an important part of the rich Turkish culture, carries out various projects and activities in this direction, making use of local and natural fabrics woven on hand looms, as well as meticulous handwork and craftsmanship on silk and velvet fabrics in the “Legend of Anatolia” fashion show collection. Eye-catching clothes were prepared by blending techniques from traditional Turkish handicrafts such as thread breaking, dival work, glitter wrapping, needle lace, Turkish work, suzeni, cross-stitch, and gome. Continuing its work with the vision of being “the institution that introduces Türkiye’s heritage to the world,” they undertake an important mission in researching Turkish cultural, artistic, and craft heritage and transforming it into design and works. They have a very large and comprehensive collection and organize fashion shows and exhibitions with these special collections. The “Legend of Anatolia” fashion show featured 24 elegant outfits worn by models from the Model Academy in Ferndale, JHB.

The second designer who took to the stage is the world-renowned Urban Zulu, a South African design brand. Urban Zulu is a Johannesburg-based fashion brand that derived its name from Mam Busi Mhlongo’s “Urban Zulu” album, with the meaning easily translated as “Urban” for modern, contemporary, and Zulu for heaven. They believe in the movement of oneness, hence the use of “Heaven,” with humanity being a part of one creator. The Summer Genesis Collection 23 defines the birth of Urban Zulu as it cemented itself as the leading African fashion brand with its first collection using African prints. More than a decade later, the genesis collection continues to set Urban Zulu apart in the market with its distinctive and unique aesthetics and silhouettes. In celebration of heritage, Urban Zulu launched the Summer Collection 23 at the Turkiye SA Textile Fashion show.

Notable thanks go to BrandSA for their support in this cultural event. Building bridges between South Africa and other countries, this platform of a fashion show lends itself to opening the world to South Africa. Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation in order to improve its global competitiveness. Brand South Africa’s primary focus is to develop and implement proactive, coordinated marketing and communications reputation management strategies for South Africa. Their main objective is to market South Africa to both domestic and international audiences, positioning South Africa as a competitive investment destination, and inspiring and instilling active citizenship amongst South Africans. Brand South Africa was established in August 2002 to help create a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa. At that time, the world was unsure what to think of South Africa, with many different messages being sent by various sources. This did very little to build the country’s brand, and it was evident that to attract tourism and investment, there was a need to coordinate marketing initiatives to make them more effective.

“This platform provides an opportunity for the country to showcase its craft and talent through fashion, which is one of the pillars that have demonstrated to the world that South Africa is an inspiring country,” says Ntombela, Acting CEO.

Further to this is an important aspect of strengthening relations with embassies based in South Africa, and the collaboration is the first of many to come in the future.

BrandSA is a Nation Brand that inspires its people and is admired globally.

Bringing together the history of civilizations in a dynamic and ever-changing world of fashion and luxury, it was an evening enjoyed by everyone.

By Marion Kate