Nokwanda Ngcobo – 8thWandah
Catou Xfele
Reggie Xaba – Ifele

Midwest Fashion Week had  its  CONNEXIONS fashion event in South Africa. Midwest Fashion Week is dedicated to empowering creativity and the expression of individuality and has created this new platform to allow designers from South Africa and the diaspora to showcase their brands.

CONNEXIONS was launched to global lifestyle and fashion media, at a virtual event hosted by Jen Su, style and entertainment reporter who is now U.S. based. The inaugural event, CONNEXIONS is inspired by the founder of Midwest Fashion Week and fashion designer for Catou, Berny Martin. 

Midwest fashion Week’s emphasis is on empowering creativity through a strong, supportive fashion community. 

The CONNEXIONS initiative seeks to grow the already established fashion community beyond the Midwest and open up markets for designers based in other parts of the world through a series of regional events.

“I am encouraged by how we can work together to make new connections.This inspiration was ignited by my trips to South Africa and how the culture there can be an asset to this region in the USA. Fashion is becoming more and more the found source of global economic development and South Africa has a lot of potential,” says Berny Martin, founder of Midwest Fashion Week.

Berny Martin

 The CONNEXIONS event  took place in Johannesburg on the 25th of September, and was hosted by Lionel Moise, ABC News Anchor & Emmy Award Winning Journalist. Moise traveled to South Africa to host this curated event featuring some of South Africa’s best creative designers. The date was carefully selected to coincide with Heritage Day in South Africa.

Lionel Moise

“This is a first for South Africa as this event was bespoke and focused on a small group of designers across product lines alongside art. The designers  got a chance to bring their brand vision to life outside of the conventional runway presentation,” says Odysseus Shirindza who is the curator for the event.

The showcase was hosted at Gallery MOMO, a premium art gallery space in Parktown North, Johannesburg. The showcase was curated with art, speaking to the concept of CONNEXIONS, and showcasing artists from South Africa and the diaspora. Participating designers were allocated a space to creatively display their signature designs in the form of a static installation, as well as live models. The day culminated in a spectacular live fashion show highlighting the collections of each of the participating designers.

Due to Covid-19 regulations, the event was only accessible to a select few at the venue, by invitation only, with a virtual component to allow for a broader audience to tune in.

Sonia Mbele
Craig Jacobs & Carol Bouwer
Lorraine Moropa

“The objective of the CONNEXIONS showcase is to facilitate new dialogue between the Midwest region of the U.S.with South Africa. 

I am hopeful that the new dialogue has sparked conversations around economic development and growth between the two regions in the mix of the new global economic developments,” adds Martin.

Some of the designers in attendance included; Berny Martin – Catou (U.S.A), Carol Bouwer – Carol Bouwer Hand Bags (SA), Odysseus Shirindza – Arnreuby (SA), Reggi Xaba – Ifele (SA), Nokwanda Ngcobo – 8thWandah (SA), Heather Marie Designs U.S.A and Inga Gubeka – Inga Atelier

“The event’s ultimate goal is to provide a platform for those interested in different aspects of design to interact with designers. We wanted to see fashion and art enthusiasts from all spectrums attend the show,”concluded Shirindza.

Odysseus Shirindza