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 21 Years: Making Histories with South African Fashion Week

Start Date 14 November 2018
End Date 07 January 2019
Venue Zeitz MOCAA
Location Cape Town, South Africa
Curator Erica de Greef
Research Assistant Lesiba Mabitsela
Assistant Curator Githan Coopoo
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins


Cape Town (2 November 2018) – In November the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) premieres a new fashion exhibition, titled  21 YEARS: Making Histories with South African Fashion Week. 

The exhibition will feature 21 ensembles from 21 designers, spanning different styles, multiple collections, and various seasons showcasing a micro-history of South African fashion. The exhibition will occupy two gallery spaces on Level 4 of the museum and will run from 14 November 2018 to 7 January 2019.

The exhibition is a collaboration with South African Fashion Week and draws on a curated selection of ensembles from their coming of age celebration of showcasing South African fashion since 1997. It will offer museum visitors an intimate survey of iconic fashion designers, such as Clive Rundle,  Amanda Laird Cherry and Loxion Kulcha, alongside young designers that includes Sindiso Khumalo,  Thebe Magugu and Selfi. 

This presentation of the exhibition is organised by Erica de Greef, Senior Curator at Zeitz MOCAA. “Much like art, fashion has the capacity to reflect the broader political, cultural, technological and creative transformation in post-apartheid South Africa”, she commented. 

21 YEARS is an ongoing fashion-focused curatorial project of the museum that reclaims absent African fashion histories and writes into the record some of the neglected narratives through micro-history publications, exhibitions, and related workshops exploring, showcasing and archiving the history of a single event, magazine, maker, retailer, photographer, and more. The concept of 21 Years draws on a millennial approach to owning and narrating diverse and unique fashion histories. The debut micro-history exhibition follows the story of the first fashion week launched in Africa, South African Fashion Week, founded by Lucilla Booyzens in 1997. 

21 YEARS: Making Histories with South African Fashion Week  presents the opportunity to begin reflecting on and recording the many neglected fashion narratives from the continent. “In a continent where fashion has played such pivotal roles in crafting identities, politicising bodies, and engaging modernities, it is critical that African fashion narratives are afforded new forms of attention in museum spaces,” de Greef commented. 

21 YEARS: Making Histories with South African Fashion Week  is accompanied by an illustrated publication. The exhibition and publication will facilitate a range of important conversations around African fashion at Zeitz MOCAA, which will include panel discussions, curator-led talks and walkabouts, experimental workshops, digital activations, and participatory interventions. 

21 YEARS of SA Fashion Week, the publication, will be available for purchase in the Zeitz MOCAA Shop, at R1 330 inclusive of VAT. 

Please see link to Erica de Greef’s publication on the exhibition, (September 2020) in the Fashion Theory Journal Special Issue: Decolonising Fashion

Images:  21 YEARS: Making Histories with South African Fashion Week, courtesy of Wianelle Briers, Zeitz MOCAA