Being invited to showcase collections for the Parisian gaze is no small feat in the fashion world. Paris is fashion’s capital. The crem de la crem of couture, the city of lights and luxury’s elite- the ever-watchful vogue-centric eye, it’s Paris but with South African showcasing.
It has recently been announced that there’s a new kid taking on the Parisian block. They’re rooted in the rich originality and culture of African design and are set on bringing that vision to the globe. Beyond this, they’re also the only South African brand selected by the panel to exhibit their collections at the prestigious runner up show to Paris fashion week. Only 5 African brands were chosen across the continent- for context.
They are ERRE and here’s why they are who the fashion-obsessed are bookmarking.
The creatives behind ERRE (Pronounced ‘Air’) are Carina Louw and Natasha Jaume from Pretoria. What started as an idea between the two fashion lecturers in 2013, would soon materialise into a fashion world force to be reckoned with.
Their goal may be global, but their inspiration is close to home- namely the rich cultural tapestry of the African continent, which the duo experienced first-hand on a myriad of exotically local travels.
ERRE is known for redefining power dressing silhouettes, being inclusive of all sizes, and an ethos of sustainability.
The show of the budding stars: Africa Fashion UP
The duo’s imaginings caught the eye of Share Africa, who selected them to exhibit at their prestigious inaugural Africa Fashion UP show in France. For added context of how big a deal this is, Share Africa’s partner is the Kering Group (think Balenciaga, Gucci and Alexander McQueen). Their focus now is to shine a spotlight on African designing ventures, of which ERRE will dance in the limelight.
The design duo will showcase a collection entitled ‘Home’ in Paris on 17th September this year, in advance of Paris Fashion Week.
The Africa Fashion UP project forms part of a wider initiative by Share Africa. Its aim is to introduce the world of fashion to some of Africa’s best creatives whose brands and ethos are on par with the quality expected to be seen on the main fashion runways.
In light of the opportunity, Louw expressed that: “it is an extraordinary privilege to be invited to be part of this project. The opportunity to take our brand and share it with the world is incredible and we are excited to present a collection that embodies our spirit as a people, and a new world order in refined power dressing for women”.
In the run-up to the show, which will take place at the legendary Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild in the heart of the fashion capital, the pair will also participate in a workshop hosted by Balenciaga to which, they have been specifically invited.
On the collection they will be showing in Paris, Louw says: “Home is where we have all rooted ourselves over the past 18-months or so. We could choose to cocoon ourselves or spend the time opening our eyes to the inspiration all around us, which is what we did and what we hope we have captured in this collection.”
ERRE is distinctive for its body-inclusive lines and elegance. All women are Queens and deserve to dress like one, so it is no wonder that ERRE is dressing the likes of Princess Charlene of Monaco as well as Oscar winning actress Terry Pheto and it is playfully encapsulated in this new season.
“We have also drawn on our unique floral heritage to inform our bright colour palette for this collection, which is also a symbol of promise for brighter beginnings and a celebration of our ‘Mbokodos’ (rock-solid in isiXhosa) women of South Africa.”
Their secret weapon of sustainable fashion: Mohair
The luxury brand is also a sterling ambassador for locally sourced Mohair, a signature of their seasonal offerings, and something that caught the eye of the Africa Fashion UP team.
Jaume explains: “Mohair is used by many of the top brands worldwide, but few know it originates in South Africa, so Africa Fashion UP is also a chance to remind people that not only does South Africa have a wealth of talent, it also has desirable resources that are sustainable.”
“For a fashion designer, Mohair is magic – a beautiful tactile natural fibre that we can twist, bend, mould, contour & knit into any shape we please. A natural fibre that is super comfortable to wear and sustainable. But it was only after taking a road trip in the Karoo in 2019 with Mohair South Africa we truly realised how important this fibre is for South Africa and its ability to generate jobs and boost the economy,” stated Louw.
Louw and Jaume depart for Paris on 11th September in readiness for the workshop and the staging of their show on 17 September.