Representing top fashion brands and designers as the only multi label trading agent / wholesale showroom in South Africa. The Fashion Agent is supplying independent professional boutiques, retailers and online stores.
Why did you decide to become a fashion agent?
Before I moved to South Africa in 2004 I was the brand manager for Boss Woman in Germany, responsible for planning and pricing worldwide. I did market research in South Africa and found no B2B platforms for SA designers. In 2012, The Fashion Agent opened its showroom.
Was it difficult in the beginning to market SA designers to the retailers. What were their apprehensions?
Trusting the wholesale process was the main issue. Some boutiques had placed orders with designers and never received finished garments and designers had manufactured orders and never been paid. We manage the order and payment process and have built up trust.
How many stores stock SA designers?
We’ve sold SA designers into 117 stores. We update our buyer database constantly and interact with over 750 boutiques in total.
What is lacking in SA design?
SA design is not lacking in creativity. Not everyone making clothes should be called a “designer” and should be entitled to show a collection on a runway. Fabulous products are created by bringing the best talents together: designers, pattern makers, dressmakers, machinists and crafters. More skills are needed to market SA designed products, such as wholesale agents, buyers, journalists, stylists, photographers, art directors, producers, hair and make up stylists, graphic and web designers, models and show producers.
What lessons can we learn from countries that have developed a healthy fashion industry?
The fashion and textile industry must be identified as an opportunity for development in Africa. Arts and craft subjects should be taught from an early age in schools.
What does the future of SA fashion look like?
International designers travel to Africa to find traditional techniques and inspirations because consumers are looking for individuality. Designers in South Africa are creating their own trends, brand identities and stories based on various cultures, heritage and daily life. The responsibility lies with fashion designers and their teams to put fabulous and authentic products out there to be marketed, ordered and bought.