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Pop-up fanfare at SA Fashion Week

Pop-up fanfare at SA Fashion Week

Fashion Friday – Pop-up fanfare at SA Fashion Week 00H00 FRIDAY, 31 AUGUST 2012 SHARE 01 0 STORY

SA Fashion week has built a pop-up-store for this weekend at the Sandton City fountain court with over 30 designers. I decided to catch up with one of the young designers showing her Autumn/Winter 2012 range there.
Having studied at the Durban University of Technology, and cut her designing teeth at one of South Africas major fashion retailers, Shingai Nyagweta, owner and designer of the Kuna label talks about what it takes to design for children.

Q: What is Kuna, and who is the woman behind the brand?
A: Kuna stands for Kids Uniquely Nattily Attired . The brand is bright and bold with an African twist. We cater for girls’ ages 2-10 for both smart casual and formal occasions. Kuna was born out of a love for colour and a need to bring back playfulness into children’s clothing.

Q: Why design for children when there seems to be a bigger market in womenswear?
A: Yes the women’s wear designer segment is large, but so too is the retail sector that caters for them. With the rise in well known womens wear brands from overseas starting kids’ ranges, I saw an opportunity for a new brand of designer children’s wear to enter the SA market.

Q: Having had the security of designing for a retailer, why did you decide to go it alone?
A: As much as I enjoyed my time working and learning for other designers and retailers, often, one’s creativity is limited to the brand identity of the retailer and not all your designs will make it to the shop floor. Garments are drastically altered and changed for pricing and target market reasons. It can be frustrating, but it also taught me a lot about the cost and pricing of garments.

Q: What is your opinion on designers collaborating with retailers, especially in the South African context? Would you be open to such a deal?
A: Not only am I open to working with retailers, I have already approached a few. The current economic climate makes it easier and cheaper for retailers to import items, but this is something that can change as the economy develops. I am keen to expand into the international market as a few of our online orders are from customers living overseas. But I will also continue exploring teaming up with some of our large retailers who support local design.

Q: Youve also worked with some big names in the SA fashion industry, tell me about that
A: After working with Foschini in Cape Town as a designer, I moved to Johannesburg and worked with Marianne Fassler on her children’s range Sibella. It was a short stay with the Fassler team, but it gave me great insight on how I wanted to run my children’s wear line as a small designer, which is very different to large retailers.

Q: Earlier this year you had a pop-up store at Joburg Fashion Week, and this weekend you have one at SA Fashion week. What is the next big thing on your radar?
A: Hopefully, with the contacts I continue to make from these shows, I will be able to expand my footprint across the South Africa, SADC and overseas in the next three years. I will continue to do the shows as they offer exposure and a great way to keep the Kuna brand relevant, as well as meeting like-minded people.

Make a point of visiting the Kuna store at the SA Fashion Week pop-up store at Sandton City in the Fountain Court, which opened yesterday and will run until Sunday 2 September, for some fashion forward trends for the little ladies. Catch the fashion show on Sunday at 11:00.

How else can you get hold of this hot range?
You can also shop online on Visit the Studio at 46 The
Colonnades, Saffier Street, Juskeipark.
Contact Shingai directly at . Follow Kuna on Facebook
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