In South Africa we are lucky enough to have three events to wear our Manolos to – Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, Africa and Cape Town.
In the run-up to the Cape Town event, which takes place this week, we spoke to designer Craig Port about all things bright and fashionable.
What inspired you to become a designer?
My father was a leading shirt maker in Durban and as a child I used to accompany him to work on a Saturday morning. Ever since, I have been excited and fascinated by clothing and fashion.
What is the one thing that keeps you motivated?
Showing at local and international fashion weeks is always tremendously rewarding and dressing celebrities and rock stars never fails to add a touch of glamour!
What can people expect from you at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town?
I recently returned from a trip to London where I celebrated the launch of the summer season with an array of black tie balls, lawn parties and glittering gallery openings. Inspired by the experience, I returned home and began designing The Great British Summer collection. Collection pieces celebrate fresh fashion with pastel solids and botanical references.
How do you go about designing garments? What is your “process”?
It starts with deciding on a theme and colour palette. Once those elements have been finalised, I scour all corners of the earth to find the perfect fabrics. Italy, Spain, China and Africa are my go-to destinations. Once the fabrics are confirmed, the respective designs are created.
What trends are big internationally at the moment?
The ’50s new-look skirt, the Marilyn shoulder dress, the high-waisted trouser and lace.
What, in your opinion, has been the biggest change in fashion in the last 10 years?
South Africa was in a dark place when I was growing up and starting out in the fashion industry. Clothes were viewed as essential items more than a medium of carefree indulgence, but this changed with the introduction of democracy. The new political era ushered in a change of mind-set and a shift towards creative expression in fashion. Finally there was a place for superfluous excess and fun when beforehand the industry had a far more sanitary agenda.
Over the decades, menswear and womenswear have gone through various stages of being ‘dressed’ and then retreating back into something more understated. Freedom of expression in South Africa definitely allowed designers to start exploring fashion and pushing boundaries.
When selecting clothing, what three questons should people ask themselves?
Is it appropriate?
Does it fit?
Do you love it?
What do you predict to be the hottest trends this summer?
For men, the oversized baseball shirt and for women, the ’50s high-waisted midi skirt.
What is your advice to a young person trying to break into your game?
Pay your dues, everything and all comes to those who do. Don’t try fastrack success.
If you could dress any person in the world, for any event, who and what event would it be, and why?
Price Harry on his wedding day. He is such an original character with great charisma and charm. He dares to live life to the fullest.