Cotton On Group unveils R300 million new headquarters and distribution centre for Southern Africa

The Cotton On Group has long been loved for the brands and trend-driven value products that it has brought to South Africa’s shores, such as Cotton On, Typo and Factorie. Now, the retail group has taken its presence in the region further by investing in a R300 million custom-built new central office and distribution centre in Johannesburg, that will further enhance their customer experience. Beyond signifying a commitment to the country, the new premises are an extension of the company’s pledge to Doing Good in all areas of its operations.

I was part of a handful of selected media to attend a VIP walk through of the new facility, and I got to see just how massive an operation it is to house millions of items, and to satisfy customers when they “add to cart” and order online.

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SA Fashion Week 2022

Ecological sustainability, women’s empowerment, inter brand collaboration and proudly local production investment are some of the dynamic developments that mark SA Fashion Week’s 25th Spring/Summer Collections.
 
The SAFW’22 Spring Summer Collections will be showcased from 28 – 30 April, Parkade G5, Entrance 24 at Mall of Africa in Johannesburg.

Twenty iconic names including Ephraim Molingoana for Ephymol,  Amanda Laird Cherry and Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho as well as cult Kasi brand, Loxion Kulca, now designed by Olé Ledimo, will launch their 2022 collections to the media, buyers, selected VIPs and a limited edition of public tickets through Quicket, alongside exciting new stars including 2021 New Talent winner Artho Eksteen as well as Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu and Sipho Mbuto who both participated in the Fashion Bridges collaboration with Milan Fashion Week last year. 
 

Hosted by SA’s favourite social personality, Maps Maponyane, the 24th New Talent Search will again open the event with a line-up of six of the most promising young designers to watch. This year’s contenders are:


·       Thando Ntuli – MUNKUS
·       Nichole Smith – Ipikoko
·       Mikhile du Plessis – MeKay Designs
·       Calvin Lunga Cebekhulu – Czene.24
·       Sanelisiwe Gcabashe – Gjenelo Couture
·       Mimangaliso Ndiko – Sixx6

Other highlights of the first day is the CRUZ COLLECTIVE featuring Sokhulu and Mbuto as well as another new generation notable, Michael Ludwig Studio.

Day two opens with The OPPO COLLECTIONS which brings Artho EksteenEzokhetho, the gender-neutral signature, The BAM Collective, and the much revered, Amanda Laird Cherry, together in a celebration of technology and perfection that will speak to OPPO’s Reno 5 mobile phone as the quintessential tool with which to capture the ethos of contemporary living as “the new spectator sport” which happens where everyone, everywhere engages, interacts, captivates and comments.

“We are excited to go into our second year of partnership with SA Fashion Week. This is an important partnership for OPPO, as it gives us the space to connect with our customers and it shows our commitment to empowering local talent through our technology to curate a line of sustainably resourced fashion that represents both the heartbeat and heritage of our country. We are looking forward to our second collection and what our designers will come up with this year. For us, it is all about the creative collaboration that translates South African culture into design, which is the essence of what the OPPO brand represents both locally and globally.”  says Avashnee Moodley, Head of Marketing at Oppo South Africa.
 
This is followed by the high-profile trio of Cape Town-based Helon Melon who wowed audiences in 2021 with her all-white, sustainable collection, fashion forward Judith Atelier, an ardent supporter of South African mohair and perennial fashion week darling, Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho.

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Cotton Fest is back this March

Organisers of the highly anticipated entertainment and lifestyle gathering, announced the return of the 3rd annual Cotton Fest, which is set to take place in March 2022 in Newtown, Johannesburg. The theme for 2021 is “university and campus” and the organisers have created their very own university of COTTON FEST campus through which the festival will offer a multi-layered university campus experience including a concert, merch, cafeteria, sport area and even lockers for you to store your personal belongings. 
 
With the return of the class of COTTON FEST 2019 and the sophomores from 2020, together with the freshers of 2022, it’s almost time for the graduation of the Class of 2022 at The University of COTTON FEST
 
Known for merging both established and upcoming South African talent,  COTTON FEST not only showcases the diversities in music while fusing the gaps within the different local current movements. With the best South African artists expected to perform over 3 stages, this action packed two-day festival returns to The Station in Newtown on the 19th & 20th March 2022.
Celebrating all South African talent, Cotton Fest not only showcases the diversities in music at large, but it also celebrates various lifestyle elements within our ‘culture,’ including fashion and sport. 
 
THE CONCERT: The COTTON STAGE will feature headline and legacy artists. The Bettr  STAGE will feature the New Wave of young talent. The Jägermeister STAGE will bring the best nights featuring House and Electronic talent, alongside some of the biggest names on the Amapiano scene right now.

SPORTS AREA: A half-court will be set up for basketball fans, along with a skating ramp for skating enthusiasts.

FASHION: Various merchandise hubs will stock unique pieces, limited branded fashion items and other sought after accessories.

CAFETERIA: Food Court will bring you a huge variety of delectable options and several fully stocked bars positioned around the venue.

MORE: There’ll also be photo booths set up for content creation as well as various chill areas to relax, recharge and reboot.

   
“Following the past 20 months that we have all lived through, we are humbled to be back yet again to make an impact in the entertainment industry. With the huge support and backing from artists from around the country, we are ready to kickstart the road back to normality in a positive way, and get the Creator Economy going again” says founder Riky Rick. “ With the industry currently flipped on its head,  Cotton Fest, together with exciting partners hope to bring together the industry, and celebrate the graduation of the first class from the University of Cotton Fest 2022.”
 
In line with current government regulations,  tickets will be limited to 2000 per day. 
 
To ensure the safety of everyone attending the festival, ALL festival attendees – including all staff, partners and performing artists – will need one of the following to gain access into the venue:
 

  • Provide a personal fully vaccinated certificate (either printed or online)
  • Provide a negative PCR test, if only vaccinated with one dose, done within 48 hours of the festival (either printed or online)
  • Do an on-site Rapid Antigen Covid Test if you have not yet been vaccinated, which is available for R150 at the venue.

 
Tickets are on sale at Webtickets and Pick ‘n Pay outlets nationwide. Options include:

  • R200 Early Bird
  • R250 Day Pass
  • R500 Weekend Pass
  • R600 Merch and day pass package 

 
This year, the University of Cotton Fest 2022 is proud to be in collaboration with Bettr.app – Africa’s first digital banking app for creators, by creators — and supported by lifestyle giant, PUMA, iconic Elixir brand Jägermeister and global digital payments leader, Visa.
 
Synonymous with youth culture in SA, the festival will be powered by none other than the iconic South African youth radio station, YFM.
 
For more information, please follow these social media handles:
 
Instagram: cottonfestjhb
Facebook: CottonFestJHB
Twitter: CottonFestJHB
www.cottonfest.co.za

ROOKIE USA Donates R50 000 to Reach for a Dream Foundation

Rookie USA is known for it’s love for helping children as much as they can. Their annual donations brighten even the dimmest of smiles.

Rookie USA partnered with well-known influencers and friends of the brand to contribute to the amazing donation of R50 000 to the Reach For A Dream Foundation.

“Reach For A Dream seeks to alleviate the strain that life-threatening illnesses place on sick children and their families by providing these dreamers with the opportunity to believe in their greatest wish. The Foundation has been providing dreams to children all around the country for 33 years and counting. These young children are under extreme pressure to deal with these medical issues and are in desperate need of encouragement. In addition, Reach For A Dream offers the child a magical moment to regain their childhood that is being lost to an illness.”

“The foundation is grateful to have partnered with Rookie USA in the journey to inspire, give hope, strength, and courage in the lives of our dream children” says Natalie Lazaris, Business Head for Reach for a Dream Foundation.

Rookie USA is a kids-only, multi-branded premium retail destination, now in South Africa. It is a retail experience focused on kids from the ages of 0-20 years old ranging from apparel to accessories and footwear. Rookie USA offers consumers a collection of iconic brands including Converse, Nike, Jordan, Hurley and Levi’s to provide a complete head-to-toe kid’s experience.

Check out Rookie USA’s website www.rookieusa.co.za and Instagram page @Rookieusa.za. 
#RookieZA

PEP partners with Loxion Kulca

I first heard about the clothing brand Loxion Kulca way back in 2005 when I was the Assistant Producer for the SABC 1 show “Spirit Sundae”. Loxion Kulca sponsored our presenters’ clothing at the time and the duo that founded the iconic urban street fashion brand, Wandi Nzimande and Sechaba Mogale, were huge entrepreneurs.

PEP has announced that the latest collection from Loxion Kulca is now exclusively available in over 1,000 PEP stores, making this range more readily available to customers.

“We have rolled out this collection exclusively to most of our PEP stores nationwide, following a very successful pre-launch in a few PEP stores last year. We always aim to make fashion as affordable and accessible as possible and having Loxion Kulca in more of our stores will make this renowned brand more accessible to our customers”, says PEP Chief Marketing Executive, Beyers van der Merwe.

The original Mzansi township brand, Loxion Kulca, was co-founded 21 years ago as a brand by the people, for the people. As an iconic and proudly South African clothing label, Loxion Kulca is an important part of the country’s streetwear heritage, culture and fashion scene. The brand gave birth to a lot of movements and trends. Bucket hats, that have made their way back into fashion, are some of the items that the brand introduced and is renowned for in South Africa.

PEP continuously improves and evolves to stay relevant and partnering with a local brand such as Loxion Kulca is one of the many ways they are delighting their customers. PEP’s customers are at the heart of everything they do, which is why their biggest priority will be to offer enough options for everyone to look and feel good, everyday.

Check out the PEP Facebook and Instagram pages for more details about the collection.

Kickin It With Kim Jayde – Season 2

After a year of eager anticipation, the season premiere of “Kickin it with Kim Jayde” has officially dropped on YouTube.

Directed, produced and hosted by the multi-award winning TV host and business entertainment entrepreneur, Kim Jayde, the proudly local show is back for another exciting season for sneaker fanatics around the continent.

Kickin it with Kim Jayde’ brings together some of the top sneaker lovers in the industry, while shining a new light on some of your favourite celebrities and taste makers.

The season premiere stars special guest BLXCKIE Somnyama. With a debut album on every playlist, and the recently awarded 2021 Best Freshman of the Year at the SA Hip Hop Awards, there’s no denying his talent. We learn more about the Durban born artist’s career and hear him answer fun questions about his first kiss, first sneakers and how he won his first rap battle.

The rest of the season is just as star-studded, with internationally renown DJ Doowap, ‘Big Flexa’ Costa Titch, marketing guru King Aya and platinum selling artist Shekhinah.

 Every guest is invited to bring sneakers from their personal collection which they share more about in the show.

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Converse returns with student debt relief campaign #CreateNext

Converse SA launched its first movement to aiding in the alleviation of student debt in South Africa with the campaign #Kickthedebt. The focus of the campaign was to try and alleviate a portion of student debt, by making a difference to the youth as Tertiary education is incredibly expensive and as a result, student debt is exceptionally high.
 
Due to the overwhelming response received from the previous campaign, Converse SA will be giving away R2 Million towards relieving student debt once again.
 
This year, the campaign has been renamed “Create Next”. The initiative behind the campaign name is fuelled by those that broke barriers before us. We move where inspiration takes us next: when we break barriers of culture, style, and innovation, we construct new possibilities.
 
Youth development is extremely important to Converse as we need to optimize youth developmental progress. Converse promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing better opportunities. We enable students to flourish in their respective educational journeys without the fear of poverty stopping them.
 
Whilst we know that paying off student debt is vitally important in securing so many futures, Converse has gone a step further by guiding students towards their goals through mentorship by experts who have already overcome the very same hardships. Converse has a community of “All Stars” who have been taken under the Converse wing and given opportunities to be part of skill building workshops and mentorship talks with experts in their industries. Converse has enabled the ‘All Stars” to be a part of mural creations around South Africa and the brand has created opportunities for youth to have experiences around the globe.
 
In addition to the R2 Million pledge, Converse will also be giving an additional R500 000 to those who dare to live on their own terms, who break barriers and create their next opportunity. By opening doors to the next generation of creators. Calling all artists, innovators, community leaders, sports people, creators, entrepreneurs, game changers, advocates, rebels, activists, designers, and inventors.
 
Converse is reaching out to communities to tell their stories of inspiration, connection and innovation. The brand wants to help communities create what comes next in their bright future.
 
The campaign will be supported by Digital, PR, Influencers, Ambassadors, Billboards, Radio, Retail Executions and Social media
 
The level of access to entry is as simple as last time, all you have to do is visit ConverseCreateNext.co.za to submit your nomination form. Converse SA is here to bash, smash or squish that student debt that you or someone that you know may have, when it comes to their education
 
The campaign runs from 22 November 2021 and closes on 31 January 2022. Winners will be announced by 28 February 2022.
 
#CreateNext

Crocheting is Cool with Mama Kea

The word crochet is likely to conjure images of your grandmother’s doilies. However, two young entrepreneurs in Newtown, Johannesburg are setting the record straight.

The strength of Mama Kea lies in its combination of young and old talent. It started when the founders, Sicelo Mabuza and his business partner Khulani Sikhosana, teamed up with two elderly women, Irene Mabitsela and Emma Mavimbela, who they met selling crochet beanies at the Soweto Arts and Craft Fair back in 2015.

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Win with Zando this Black Friday

South Africa’s premier online shopping destination, Zando, will reward four lucky shoppers with a  stylish wardrobe valued at R100,000 ahead of their Black Friday campaign, which runs from 15 October to 4 November 2021.

“As South Africans start rediscovering the joy of dressing up and going out, we are excited to offer four fashion lovers a chance to win a R25 000 voucher each to spend on their favourite local and international brands. Our consumers get an extra spoil ahead of the festive season,” said Zando CEO, Grant Brown.

To participate in the campaign, consumers will have to sign up with their email address for exclusive access to Black Friday offers (https://www.zando.co.za/mlp-black-friday/). They can shop for the latest trends from brands like Adidas, Nike, Sissy Boy, Gucci, Guess and Prada as well as summer fashion, beauty or gift-giving ideas on the platform.

Zando continues to develop its relevance by launching new brands across fashion, beauty and lifestyle, ensuring that consumers experience world-class online shopping in South Africa.

All Zando Black Friday deals can be found online at https://www.zando.co.za/and on the Zando App.

SA Fashion Week at Mall of Africa

All the allure of live is set to return to local fashion as relaxed lock-down levels allow Mall of Africa to stage South African Fashion Week Autumn/Winter Collections on the runway to a select VIP audience from 28 – 30 October 2021. 

The shows featuring 29 top designers, will then again be streamed from 4 November to a wider audience including international media, designer clients and local and global followers of fashion. The 2020 show broadcasts were viewed by over 73545 people worldwide and have therefore become a key new addition to the amplification of SA fashion marketing, says director Lucilla Booyzen.

This will be followed by the SAFW Trade Show in the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa with 40 designers of men’s and womenswear as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewellry and millinery from 31 October – 1 November and the SAFW Pop Up Shop where fashion lovers will be able to interact and buy directly from all the participating designers from 3 – 5 December, in the same venue.

“Mall of Africa is immensely proud to support South African design, both by staging this dynamic showcase as well as by making retail opportunities available to talented fashion entrepreneurs,” says Michael Clampett, Asset and Property Management Executive at Attacq Limited, about the three-year hosting partnership.

According to Booyzen, participating designers are increasingly adopting the circular fashion system required to transition towards a more sustainable and cleaner, fashion order. 
“This is evident throughout all the collections be it the new seasonal ranges by established designers or the entries for our New Talent or Scouting Menswear competitions with feature principles such as waste reduction, low impact materials, longevity and recyclability as well as a greater emphasis on higher quality and timeless design.”

Improved synergy between the designers and the downstream value chain, particularly in the fabric and local yarn production sectors where South Africa has a strong presence such as mohair and wool production, has emerged as another key driver of future sustainability. 


This has resulted in Fashion Bridges – I Ponti Della Moda, a South African and Italian designer-led initiative between SAFW, the Italian embassy, Polimoda in Florence and the Milan Fashion Week and supported by textile company Da Gamma as well as Wool SA, Cotton SA and Mohair SA,  which allowed Italian designers Julian Cerro, Llaria Bellomo, Domico Orefice and Alessia Dovero and South Africans Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu, Sipho Mbuto, The Bam Collective and Xavier Sadan to stage an exhibition at the Milan Fashion Week in September and again on 28 October at SAFW. 

“Representing approximately 50% of the world’s mohair producers, we welcome the opportunity to introduce this luxurious and sustainable South African fibre to a wider audience through the Fashion Bridges – I Ponti Della Moda project,” says Marco Coetzee – general manager, Mohair South Africa

The six finalists of the Scouting Menswear Competition will open this year’s SAFW on 28 October. They are Marquin Sampson, Refuse Clothing Brand, Saint Vuyo, Umsweko, Vanklan and Boyde who will show how they have responded to the creative challenge to transform 100% textile “waste” desirable, scalable, and commercially viable garments for the South African consumers.

SAFW and OPPO celebrate the technology giant’s first year in South Africa with a new partnership that will include the staging of the OPPO Collections, a show featuring a stellar cast of Thabo Kopele, winner of the 2020 Scouting Menswear Competition, Neo Rangaka of NEO, Mikhayla Farouk of Maklele and World Fashion Award winner, Amanda Laird Cherry, all unveiling their seasonal ranges produced exclusively in sustainable fabrics.

 “We are excited to have SAFW as a platform to demonstrate how OPPO’s philosophy of technology as an art form in service of mankind and being kind to the world, can be expressed in the equally modern yet classic and earth-friendly signatures of the designers we will be partnering with,” says Avashnee Moodley, Head of Marketing at OPPO.

The Rise and Shine Collections opens the week’s second day on 29 October with a collaboration between designer signatures Romaria, Ezokhetho and Erre and South Africa’s favourite personal pampering brand, Satiskin. “Satiskin has been a favourite indulgence in many South African bathrooms for a very long time. We are honoured to be the personal care and beauty partner of this platform that recognises our nation’s talent and creativity,” says brand manager Cabangile Dlamini

Day two ends with the new collections from SAFW stalwarts, Mantsho, Franc Elis, Sober and Rubicon. A trio of bright young designer talents – Artho Eksteen, 2021’s New Talent winner, Jacques Bam from The Bam Collective and 2021 New Talent finalist Michael Ludwig will collaborate on a joint show titled no season no sex, followed by the new collections respectively from Judith Atelier.

The final show of the event will feature the new collections from Johannesburg-based The Watermelon Social Club, a graduate of the 21 Steps designer development program, previous Scouting Menswear finalists, Ntando XV and Richard Hoy, ending off with Adam Chancellor-Maddison.

According to Booyzen, the partnerships with Carlton Hair, the official hair sponsor as well as MAC, the event’s official make-up, are an integral component of the SAFW offering.

The visual language of hair and make-up is part and parcel of the total fashion moment. It is critical that these stylists understand and can interpret the designer’s vision completely. Fashion and trendsetting have always been key pillars of both the MAC and Carlton Hair brands. Equally they both share SAFW’s community and clean ecology ethos. It truly is a match made in heaven for SAFW,” she says.

According to Booyzen, the online presence that SAFW has developed over the past year, is set to grow in response to the interest from fashion followers.

“We will therefore unpack both the designers’ backstories as well as those of the various brands that are associated with the event.” 

Dates to diarise are:

  • 28 to 30 October – SAFW Collections – Mall of Africa – Entrance 22
  • 31 October and 1st November – SAFW Trade Show – Mall of Africa, Crystal Court
  • 3rd – 5th December SAFW Pop Up Shop – Mall of Africa, Crystal Court

Tickets for the live shows at the Mall of Africa are available on: www.safashionweek.co.zawww.quicket.co.za.

Only 10 tickets per show are available to the public.