OPPO partners with local designers to bring tech into textiles
02 December 2021, Johannesburg - OPPO, a leading technology business is excited to have partnered with up-and-coming South African designers to exclusively curate a range that is inspired by technology but grounded in culture. The line which debuted at SAFW just last week, highlights the closing space between design and tech infrastructure and the influencer each has on creating art.
Partnering with five local designers, OPPO was able to unearth a new sense of creativity by coupling the ethos technology into the foray of fashion. Thabo Kopele, a designer at OPPOxSAFW, uses modern architecture, abstract and sartorial art forms as inspiration towards his designs. “Technology is the best companion for any art, as it allows for seamless creation with limited physical resources. With the pandemic, most of our art lived online which provided a great platform to further expand on a potential audience,” says Kopele.
A country known for its diversity and the empowerment of freedom and speech, designer Mikhayla Farouk of Maklele has developed a style that challenges the norm through its gender-fluid street style. “I’m excited to partner with OPPO and SAFW, as its given local designers a platform to celebrate the unique while entice an audience to explore a style that represents who they are, not a trend they want to follow.” comments Farouk.
While fashion continues to challenge social norms, it also actively advocates for responsible resourcing and upcycling of material. Amanda Cherry and Brendan Sturrock of Laird Cherry are firm believers in conscious creativity. “Art is meant to inspire and the process can not destroy the resource to achieve a creative outcome. Our line is produced with considered apparel for conscious people, with a design that owns local flavour.” says Amanda.
Expressing identity through apparel is a version of storytelling, and Neo Victoria Rangaka of NEO
shows this through her designs. “All art has a purpose, and every message has a motive. We speak to who we are through the clothing we wear and the story I want to tell is that be you, unapologetically.” said Rangaka.
Talent needs opportunity
South Africa is often viewed as the fashion capital of Africa given its rich cultural multiplicity. However, when compared to global operational and production standards the country still lags.
Infrastructure, inclusivity and capital finance are key factors that directly impact on the opportunity available for young designers to access affordable resources to take designs from paper to the runway. Automation in production and output also proves to be slow in integration, which has only been exacerbated through the pandemic.
With greater investment from businesses like OPPO and continued commitment from SAFW to bolster the sector into new markets, a revolution is on its way. “We’re excited to work with SAFW as we create a platform that provides greater access for young designers to explore their craft and fulfill their passion without the worry of support. Our technology only aids in the research, and resourcing of the South African fashion industry as we break new ground in sustainable production.” says Avashnee Moodley, Head of Marketing at OPPO South Africa.
South Africa has a story to tell and through art and fashion it is one that will last a lifetime. Through an authentic aesthetic and a design that is both representative and inclusive of the heritage of the rainbow nation, a bright future awaits designers who take up the mantle of the next big thing!