Top designer, Clive Rundle and Lucilla Booyzen, director of the SA Fashion Week and member of the Commonwealth Fashion Council, will join their peers for the opening of the inaugural Commonwealth Fashion Exchange design exhibition at a reception at Buckingham Palace in the presence of T.R.H. The Duchess of Cambridge and The Countess of Wessex on 19 February 2018.
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, conceived by sustainable fashion advocate Livia Firth, founder of Eco-Age with support from both The Commonwealth and British Fashion Councils, is an ambitious long-term undertaking to draw established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 52 countries together to create new networks, trade links and showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills.
South Africa will be represented by Rundle working in collaboration with Lesotho-based textile design duo, Phutheho Ranooe, and Maleeto Monyau, of House of Thethana, that specialises in futuristic printmaking. Other Commonwealth participants include Karen Walker representing New Zealand, Bibi Russell representing Bangladesh and Burberry and Stella McCartney representing the UK.
Drawing inspiration for Lesotho’s rich horsemanship culture, crafter Monyau worked under Rundle’s direction to develop a print suited to a high fashion garment and for printing on luxurious fabrics such as silk and organza.
“The equestrian theme became a fundamental part of the pattern construction referencing anything to do with riding a horse so that the whole garment is about horses and saddles. However, it was important to us that we allowed the Lesotho image to transcend its’ geography to become a universally appealing idea. The pattern pieces are a complex arrangement of many seasons, many collections, that together now make the idea of saddles,” explains Rundle.
“As a member of the Commonwealth Fashion Council, I was approached to make recommendations on South African designers that would have both the design capacity and sensitivity to work on the complexity of collaborating with cross border crafters. Clive Rundle was one of the first designers to embrace the Fashion Fusion Crafter/Designer Project that SAFW established and ran successfully in all nine provinces with the Department of Arts and Culture from 2007 to 2011. He is also the one designer that continued to collaborate with the crafter community once the project was terminated due to a lack of funding. He is supremely qualified to make a success of an undertaking of this nature and to fly the SA flag high in such august company,” according to Booyzen.
Following the official opening during London Fashion Week, the collection will move to a public exhibition at Australia House on February 21st, as well as other public locations in London in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in April 2018.