Hello Style Revolutionists! We are back with another edition of Designer Focus (#OBDesignerFocus).
Fashion in Africa is bold, unique, beautiful and effortless. Fashion designers in Africa use the beautiful nature which surrounds them to push boundaries and release spectacular collections for public consumption each year. Every African designer contributes to the fashion industry by pushing the envelope and opening up a market for African fashion and creations internationally.
On our last edition of Designer Focus we put the spotlight on talented Nigerian Designer Evans Akere.
Today on Designer Focus, we shine the spotlight on, Gert-Johan Coetzee the creative behind the popular South African fashion label of the same name.
Minnie Dlamini and her bridesmaids in Gert-Johan Coetzee
Gert-Johan Coetzee is a talented South African fashion designer based in Linden, Johannesburg in Gauteng province. He specialises in couture red carpet gowns and is known for dressing international celebrities at red-carpet events, however he also designs a commercial ready-to-wear line.
Coetzee’s love for fashion started at a very early age, and when he was in Grade Two he told his mother that one day he was going to be a famous fashion designer. He attended primary school until Grade Four and then was home-schooled. As a young boy in school he used to dress his pencils up in tissue paper and by the age of sixteen he started studying at the North West School of Design. He graduated from NWSD in 2005.
Stephanie Coker-Aderinokun in Gert-Johan Coetzee
During Coetzee’s second year at college (2004) he won the High Fashion Award at the annual Vukani Awards. This is where he was spotted by the television personality Sandy Ngema. He dressed her for the red carpet at the Durban July Handicap premier horseracing event that year and also went on to dress her for two seasons as presenter of the SABC3 reality TV series Strictly Come Dancing. In 2006, at the young age of 19, Coetzee was named South Africa’s Most Promising Designer at the Cape Town Fashion festival.
His first commercial venture was as partner in the Diamond Face Couture label with businesswoman Uyanda Mbuli which launched in 2006. He went on his own in 2010 and launched Gert-Johan Coetzee Pty Ltd at the age of 22. He has since shown his collections at South Africa Fashion week as well as showcasing his work at fashion week shows in Nigeria; Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Canada; Vancouver Fashion Week and Angola.
Coetzee is also the first South African Swarovski brand ambassador and is interested in technological advances in fashion and constantly pushes the envelope in his collections. In April 2013 he was the first South African fashion designer to utilize hi-tech 3D-printing technology in his SA Fashion Week Spring Summer 2013 “sea urchin” collection. He collaborated with the Vaal University of Technology on the technical side, to render and print three-dimensional embellishments to incorporate into the garments. Then in October 2013, at the next SA Fashion Week, he looked to new technologies again and collaborated with photographer Nicole Phillips to capture his all-pink Autumn Winter 2014 collection with never-before seen in South Africa time-slice fashion photography on an intricate set using 40 cameras firing simultaneously.
Toke Makinwa in Gert-Johan Coetzee
Coetzee believes in “fashion with a conscience” and is known for using his platform and voice as a celebrity designer in the media to bring attention to social issues, mainly concentrating on women.
Celebrities and influencers such as Toke Makinwa, Stephanie Coker, Tiwa Savage, Minnie Dlamini, Bonang Matheba, Nomzamo Mbatha, Thuso Mbedu, Pabi Moloi, Tamara Dey, Lira, Liezel van der Westhuizen, Cindy Nell, Terry Pheto, Tatum Keshwar, Kerry McGregor, Louise Carver, Doreen Morris and Hollywood stars Kourtney Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari, Arianna Zucker and Kelly Rowland have all worn show stopping ensembles from the Gert-Johan Coetzee brand.
Tiwa Savage in Gert-Johan Coetzee
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