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Glamour exclusive: Designer Black Coffee chats to us about his collaboration with ISUZU for SAFW

ISUZU may not be the first brand that comes to mind when talking about fashion, but its values are in perfect alignment with style and the support of local creative talent. The exciting ISUZU x SA Fashion Week collaboration with local designers showcased a distinctive range of fashion-forward merchandise. SA FASHION WEEK (SAFW) recently showcased its highly-anticipated Autumn and Winter 2024 collections, leaving us fashion enthusiasts spellbound with an array of vibrant designs by some of South Africa’s most-sought after designers.

Black Coffee; Photographer: Eunice Driver

Hosted at the Mall of Africa, from the runway to the audience, the event was well attended and the three days was a showcase of an eclectic mix of styles, from bold prints that included sleek minimalist silhouettes, textures and prints. Not only did this fashion week provide a platform for local designers to showcase their creativity, but it also facilitated networking opportunities, collaborations, and industry recognition. An exciting addition to SA Fashion Week was ISUZU Motors South Africa (IMSAf ) coming on-board as the official motoring partner for the next two years, marrying motoring and fashion in an organic way. “The collaboration marks a significant milestone for both ISUZU and South Africa’s renowned fashion event, combining the essence of craftsmanship, style, and creativity, “ says Nandi Matomela, ISUZU’s Senior Manager: Brand Strategy & Field Marketing.

Image Supplied: Themba Mbuyisa

“As a global leader in the automotive industry, ISUZU is committed to delivering quality and durable vehicles that cater to diverse customer needs. And by partnering with SAFW , ISUZU aims to explore the synergy between the automotive and fashion worlds representing a fusion of design, functionality, and lifestyle,” says Nandi. “This partnership resonates deeply with us, as it signifies our commitment to innovation, style, and pushing boundaries. We have partnered with the talented fashion creative directors Black Coffee by Jaques van der Watt and MANTSHO By Palesa Mokubung.

“Through this collaboration, we not only support the creative spirit of South African fashion but also celebrate and urge creators to #BringIt to make a lasting impression, she adds. As part of the ISUZU “Luxury Collections” showcase, Jacques van der Watt of fashion label Black Coffee and Mantsho by Palesa Mokubung presented their beautiful collections. Through a collection titled “Re/Form Black Coffee Winter 24” Jacques explored the potential life cycle of a single garment by upcycling identical tunics into three different styles.

Workwear fabrics were cut into geometric shapes and sewn together to create graphic patterns that live somewhere between flags and quilts. “The collection came together nicely and I am happy with what I put out, Jacques tells me backstage after the runway show. I’ve been following his work, on and off the runway, and he is one of the most consistent designers we have that always puts out well thought of work season after season.“Over the years, I’ve really refined my signature, and I pride myself that there is a continuity from one collection to the next . The idea is that you can collect pieces from various Black Coffee collections and they kind of will work well together, he explains.

“There is definitely a certain proportion, even though I strive for newness, I didn’t want the collection to be so new that I alienate our customers. I wanted this feeling of almost past, present and future, sort of like a cycle of the garment. It’s an idea that you can revisit something old and give it a new life, which is the first time I’ve done that ever, it was really challenging but I really enjoyed it. I worked with lots of modest and sort of workwear fabrics, cutting things up and assembling them back together again...that is why it’s named Re/Form. I am quite fascinated by the African and Japanese aesthetic as the cultures sort of overlap. I always think that when you play with more than one influence , it’s easier to find newness, I never like focusing on one influence,” Jacques adds.

Image: Eunice Driver Photography

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