South African Fashion Week (SAFW) recently took place in Sandton City and one of SA’s top fashion designers since the early 90s, JJ Schoeman shared his thoughts on all things Fashion Week.
Schoeman started his brand over 20 years ago, and he has seen it all. Last year, he decided to downscale, shut down his manufacturing house and reorganise. I wanted less effort with more results, so I let all my staff go, we called in the lawyers and we prepared them, split the machinery up and set them up with little businesses for themselves.
“So every worker that I trained over the 40 million years are now their own boss and I’m the client.” Schoeman gave us his take on SA Fashion Week from a new perspective, “I attended Fashion Week in a different way, by not showing this year it gave me a chance to look what’s happening in the market. “It’s important to stand back, have a look and reinvent, revive, revisit and refresh. I had some favourite looks this year and some that I didn’t particularly like.”
A pioneer in the SA fashion scene, Schoeman mentioned that this year’s new talent is a force to be reckoned with. One of his favourites was SAFW New Talent Search 2018 winner Cindy Mfabe. “The new talent was mindbogglingly wonderful. I was so impressed with a couple of them. Cindy Mfabe has a nickname from me, I like to call her called ‘Cindy MFab’ because it was just fabulous.
“What I liked about it was that she stuck to a design with classic beautiful shapes and lovely colours but she freshened it up and lightened it up with an added new design element to it. The dress still looked like a dress. “The best part was that she sported it up, she used the sport element bringing casual and cocktail. She’s very now and so on-point.”
He also loved the denim pieces from Afrikan Swiss stating that their hand-painted ethnic designs have a very strong signature. Schoeman’s own signature has always been commercial – he described his craft as multi-functional.
His fashion tip for up-and-coming designers? You have to be these three things, “Number one is a craftsman which means you’ve got to be an expert in all spheres of the industry, number two is a banker because you’re working with other people’s money and your own and three is to be a little bit of a psychologist because you are working with people’s minds, their hopes and dreams.
“Follow those three rules and you’re set to be a serious designer.” After remodelling his business, Schoeman set up a small store in Rosebank where fashion lovers can still find the beloved JJ Schoeman brand. Currently in the middle of a massive production of a new collection, Schoeman mentioned that you can expect pleats to make a comeback this summer!
By Aneesa Adams for sandtonchronicle.co.za