Pretoria is home to some of South Africa’s leading fashion designers. With their designs front and centre at well-known fashion soirées such as SA Fashion Week and Design Indaba, and stocking the most exclusive stores countrywide, we decided to take a closer look at a few of the Jacaranda City’s trendsetting designers
Sheila-Madge Bakker, one South Africa’s leading fashion designers, won the coveted Lufthansa 1st Class Collections award at SA Fashion Week 2017. This Pretoria-based designer aims to deliver quality items that function as high art but equally comfortably as street wear. She describes her style as a rainbow dance – everything from quirky to elaborate. She aims to reconcile the conceptual and avant-garde with wearability and efficiency.
Local designer Suzann Heyns and international designers such as Ellie Saab, Maison Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen and Yiqing Yin influence Sheila-Madges’s designs but she also finds great inspiration in nature. This is evident in the colour and textural themes of many of her collections. Her affinity for the forest plantations in the Natal Midlands and Bakoven Beach in Cape Town manifests in collections such as Florarium, Terrarial and Life Aquatic. These as well items from her latest award-winning collection, Black Lips, are available from her online shop.
Sheila-Madge’s exclusive wedding couture is inspired by whimsical, mystical dreamscapes and the elevated aesthetics of her designs is suited for the bride who does not conform to the traditional. She can be reached via her website for wedding dress design enquiries.
Kgotso Letwaba’s ultra-cool athletic label, The After Skool Life, is inspired by his love for street art and all things pop culture. The After Skool Life is a stylish sportswear collection that merges aesthetics with comfort. The latest collection from this Pretoria-based designer, Memelodi Olympiana, is a sporty range made from sparkling white lightweight fabrics with plenty of refined vertical red lines, reminiscent of baseball uniforms.
Letwaba’s vision is to elevate The After Skool Life to a sought-after brand and his involvement in every step of the production process, from drawing through to pattern construction, is evidence of his passion and determination to realise his fashion dreams. He participated in the renowned Design Indaba Emerging Creatives in 2017 and is definitely one to watch.
Want to get your hands on some of Letwaba’s fashionable sportswear? Place your order for The After Skool Life items via e-mail.
Mieke Vermeulen, finalist in the 2015/2016 PPC Imaginarium Awards, showcased her Neo-Africana A/W17 collection at SA Fashion week to great acclaim. This up-and-coming designer from Pretoria drew inspiration from South African illustrative art to create a range of pastel fabric prints for her fresh, playful and definitive South African designs. Drawing from images by famed illustrator Nina Torr and a reproduction of a well-known artwork by renowned artist Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef, Vermeulen supports local talent in a real-world way.
Neo-Africana is a fusion collection. Vermeulen describes it as a merger of the traditional and the contemporary, different cultural cues and design disciplines. The Neo-Africana collection is a relatable range that maintains an essence of novelty. Items from the Neo-Africana collection are available from the designer herself; order via Facebook or e-mail.
ERRE is a label with a mission: to establish a new kind of power dressing. A joint venture by designers Natasha Juame and Carina Louw, both proud Pretorians, ERRE is a celebration of the confidence that arises from femininity, rather than continuing the overtly masculine, shoulder-padded designs of the 80s version of this trend. ERRE creates sophisticated, style-savvy and high-end garments designed to meet the needs of the multifaceted life of the modern South African woman. ERRE designs are manufactured exclusively in black and white.
Items from this successful label are available online. ERRE is currently also stocking Luminance from Johannesburg, The Bromwell Boutique Mall from Cape Town and Kloset Republik from Nelspruit.
No round-up of Pretoria-based fashion designers will be complete without Simon Rademan’s name being mentioned. This South African fashion guru has been strutting his stuff for nearly three decades. His designs have been featured in almost every South African magazine, including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Fair Lady, Sarie, Rooi Rose, DeKat, Huisgenoot and You, to name a few. He is the author of The Style Bible and he has rubbed elbows with countless local celebrities and international names like Stella McCartney.
Rademan’s design services include wedding and bespoke couture. His style is diverse but above all focuses on providing clients with elegant outfits complementing their specific features.
Details: 159 Bronkhorst Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk / 012 460 5106 / http://www.simonrademan.co.za/
By Jana van der Linde