Look, this story has been doing its rounds for a while now, how irresponsible the NEF was in granting the funds etc etc, but the truth is, the SA Fashion Media Industry did very little to speak out against it. This meant that little old ignorant me, had no idea which boutique the news was on about until a little while ago.
Here’s the problem with the new-school fashion media in SA (and by new-school, i’m referring to GRAZIA, and the countless fashion blogs that push for an elitist Fashion Industry in SA):
The average upcoming fashion designer needs around R200k (maximum) to manufacture and market a line of their own, the NEF loan of R34.1 million could have helped 170 designers (or any other worthy small business owners) realize their dreams.
The SA Fashion Media industry blatantly ignored this glaring fact, preferring to take to their instagram accounts (do note that a bad image looks worse in a shitty filter), their blogs and hashtags to promote the huge step forward for South Africa.
And this really is the problem with the fashion industry in general, we organize our fashion weeks pretending that Cape Town is Milan and Jozi is NYC, when really, we’re just a tiny country. Our Fashion Weeks are tainted by trends introduced on European runways, and our main concern is to make foreign luxury goods available instead of encouraging (yes, that means financially helping) SA designers towards building a World Class luxury goods industry in this beautiful place.
But no, nevermind, we’d much rather open up another store in Hyde Park, even though 2A (which stocks everything from Louboutin to Carven), Max Mara, Nicci (Vivienne Westwood and other high street brands), Burberry (SA flagship store), Pringle and countless others in the same mall do the same damn job.
R34.1 million people. We gave it to one lady. When we could have given it to 170 people.