MERGE ZA is a travelling showroom, bringing the best of South African design and contemporary culture. During London Fashion Week, MERGE ZA is hosting its inaugural showroom to exhibit five leading South African designers’ work: Rich Mnisi, Lukhanyo Mdingi, SELFI, Wanda LePhoto and Young & Lazy.
Meet the South African designers
RICH MNISI is a South African based contemporary fashion brand founded in 2014 by Rich Mnisi. The brand explores the “treasures engraved within Africa and the world of modern culture and heritage to tell the unique stories of then, now and soon”.
The Lukhanyo Mdingi label aims to show a sense of “cross-cultural influences of traditional designs; reflecting on a contemporary outlook of African aesthetics and heritage”.
SELFI is a Cape Town-based fashion label which explores the multidimensional parts of the self. Founder and Creative Director Celeste Arendse has found her own way of creating bespoke ready to wear everyday pieces that exude sophistication, comfort and distinct elements of play.
Wanda Lephoto’s label takes inspiration from under-celebrated 60’s-90’s Black Pop Culture.
Young and Lazy was founded in 2009 and is known for its definitively effortless style. The brand’s creative director Anees Petersen describes the brand as offering “luxurious leisure pieces with the stunt-ability that exceeds the rarest item you’ve ever purchased”.
MERGE ZA travelling showroom
By taking emerging and established South African fashion talents to urban hotspots during major trade shows such as London Fashion Week, MERGE ZA is launching an innovative platform to strategically develop international audiences, to promote quality South African design and to act as service provider between local designers and international partners.
The showroom will be open to buyers, press and the public from 11am-3pm between 16-20 September, followed by panel discussions from 3-5pm on brand stories (Fri 16th), media & trends (Sat 17th) and sustainability (Sun 19th).
UK guest speakers include Helen Jennings (Nataal), Orsola De Castro (Esthetica & Fashion Revolution), Anna Freemantle (Edinburgh International Fashion Festival), Rose Sinclair (Goldsmith), Francesco Mazzarella (Loughborough Design School), Ayesha Mustafa (Fashion Compassion), Jaqueline Shaw (Africa Fashion Guide & Fashion Africa Conference) and more.
A Thursday launch and Saturday party are hosted in collaboration with ZA Waves, presenting emerging South African music genres. MERGE ZA is launching in partnership with the British Council CONNECT ZA.
Tank Magazine Gallery Space | 91-93 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NX
THURSDAY 15 September | 3pm Launch & Intro | 5-9pm Music
FRIDAY 16 September | 11am-3pm Showroom | 3-5pm Designer Dialogue
SA BRAND STORIES: Growing fashion businesses: Motivation, inspiration, opportunities
SPEAKERS: Rich Mnisi, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Celeste Arendse, Anees Petersen, Wanda Lephoto
SATURDAY 17 September | 11am-3pm Showroom | 3-5pm Media & trends talk | 6-9 Music
MEDIA & TRENDS: A future outlook at Africa’s role in media
SPEAKERS: Helen Jennings, Liz Muller, The Sartists, Salina Janzan
SUNDAY 18 September | 11am-5pm Showroom
MONDAY 19 September | 11am-3pm Showroom | 3-5pm Sustainability talk
SUSTAINABILITY IN A FASHION CONTEXT: An afrocentric view
SPEAKERS: Orsola de Castro, Anna Freemantle, Rose Sinclair, Francesca Mazzarella, Laura Santamaria, Ayesha Mustafa, Jacqueline Shaw
TUESDAY 20 September | 11am-3pm SHOWROOM