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SA brand ERRE’s fashion show debut in Paris was colourful and inclusive

Design duo Carina Louw and Natasha Jaume are the visionaries behind local fashion brand ERRE.

The pair were selected by Share Africa as the only South African fashion brand to showcase a collection at their inaugural Africa Fashion UP event in Paris last month as a part of an initiative to showcase more African design talent to the world.

The brand debuted their collection called Home, which took inspiration from the rich cultural tapestry of the African continent.

Upon their return, we caught up with the designers to ask them about this milestone experience - and we just can’t get enough of these exclusive images they sent us from the show.

Here is what they had to say:

What was the reception to your collection like in Paris?

The audience were surprised but delighted by our bright colour scheme. The popping brights were definitely unexpected.

I think there is a certain expectation that African designers use a lot of patterns and prints in their garments in general. A lot of people commented on the fact that we showed a collection using solid colours/monochrome shades with the focus being on the bold silhouettes.

A crowd favourite was the pink quilted jacket made out of woven mohair that features massive dominating sleeves.

The Parisians find our approach to fashion very interesting in that we focus so heavily on our consumer's differing body shapes and sizes when designing a collection as opposed to designing with an ideal figure or concept in mind.

What was the experience like for you?

It was exhilarating to show a collection in Paris for the first time, and at such a beautiful venue - Hotel Salomon de Rothschild. And what an honour to represent South Africa at the Africa Fashion Up show. The day of the fashion show was truly an adventure on its own, from dragging massive boxes full of ERRE fashion over cobbled streets to that final moment when the first model walks out on the runway and to then socialise afterwards with the Gallerie Lafayette and Balenciaga team members!

But one of our favourite days by far, was visiting the Kering Headquarters set in the Historic 17th Century renovated Laennec hospital in the heart of Paris in the 7th Arrondissement. At this space, we attended a masterclass with Balenciaga where we learned how important sustainability and the Couture industry is in the greater context of fashion, and how this forms part of this historic brand's design strategy.

Another highlight of the day was a guided tour viewing some of Balenciaga's couture pieces from the 1950's and having the opportunity to ask/ bombard a Balenciaga employee on the textiles and construction techniques used in these beautiful masterpieces.

We hope that we can use the knowledge we gained to grow our brand and the South African fashion industry and we would love to share what we learned with young SA fashion brands.

How do you feel now that it’s over?

Inspired! Inspired to create something new and yet to stick to our gut when it comes to our brand values.

The general feedback from all the different fashion insiders we met in Paris was that we are so lucky to be a fashion brand in South Africa at this point in time. We have the knowledge to cater for our very diverse clientele and to be truly sustainable from the get go. And to always stick with our "gut" (in other words to do the research and than have the creative vision to follow through)

What can we expect from ERRE moving forward?

We will invest in our brand values, because it is important and solid: offering South African women powerful clothing pieces that are made for her. With our brand SA women should never worry about fitting into our clothing, our clothing should fit her! And that in turn supports the local economy. Power dressing redefined.

We will proudly show at SA Fashion Week on 29 October.

On the advice of Balenciaga & Gallerie Lafayette we would like to expand on homeware and experiential retail experiences at our host property called Milner Fashion House.

Images: Supplied

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