Woolworths and SA Fashion Week partner, with the retailer as the exclusive sponsor, giving greater returns and mileage for designers.

The partnership between Woolworths and SA Fashion Week comes at a time when local retailers really need to step in as players of fashion industry growth and this collaboration will push merchandise past the till after hitting the runway. To be sold at select Woolies stores and online, the capsule autumn-winter 2017 collection is an answer to the difficult commercial side for designers, affording a wider reach that is affordable to consumers. 
“Our partnership with SAFW is a real opportunity to support local fashion entrepreneurs,” says Woolworths’ Group Director of Marketing and Sustainability, Charmaine Huet. “We recognise the wealth of talent in the industry and want to celebrate South African fashion’s unique point of view. Customers can expect the very best in style that truly reflects South African creativity. We aim to inspire and promote local fashion through access to production and market exposure.” 
The common ground here, is that both Woolworths and SA Fashion Week are about unearthing fashion talent in South Africa and ensuring that they sell. Woolies already with a history of doing something similar to this partnership for brands like Stoned Cherrie, Maya Prass, Craig Native and Stephen Quatember between 2002 and 2009. 
“Woolworths is a leader in fashion retail and we are looking forward to building a long term and mutually beneficial partnership, growing the Creative Fashion industry in South Africa and in Africa. We are excited to give our designers the opportunity to make their mark in the competitive world of fashion retail.” Lucilla Booyzen CEO SA Fashion Week. 
In all these happenings, Woolworths has also introduced its StyleBySA faces for spring-summer 2016 – a campaign with SA’s influencers, tagged SAFW x StyleBySA. Heading this season are professional stylists Sharon Becker, Papama Ramogase, Tshepi Vundla, Trevor Stuurman, Bee Diamondhead, Lethabo ‘Boogy’ Maboi, who all brought out their style preference of Woolies brands and designs from Somerset Jane, Lumin, Vintage Zionist and Tailor Me. Consider this a preview of the capsule collection to be in stores around April 2017.  
“Our involvement with SAFW and the launch of StyleBySA means we are able to boost much-needed growth in the industry and catalyse change through empowering our designers and their communities through the value chain,” says Thateng Shimange, GM of Womensworld at Woolworths. “We are committed to collaborating with home-grown talent across the industry, from designers to stylists, photographers, bloggers and models. Practically, this means investing in and working with design trailblazers to grow their business, boost their visibility and give them access to a bigger market”, she adds.