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Designers Enhle Mbali and Hangwani Nengovhela join Jacques van der Watt to illuminate technology as an art form thanks to OPPO

As fashion lovers continue to embrace shopping, connecting with their favourite brands and showing off their favourite outfits on their phones, it is clear that technology is intrinsic to how we stylishly connect.

And, today, like our shoes, jewellery and wallets or handbags, mobile devices have become accessories of our individual style.

OPPO, one of the world’s leading smart device manufacturers and innovators, understands the power of elevating life through technological artistry. And SA Fashion Week, now in its 26th year, is the country’s ultimate fashion design platform to share that message.

Designers Enhle Mbali and Hangwani Nengovhela join Jacques van der Watt to illuminate technology as an art form thanks to OPPO

Over the past five seasons, this human-centric brand with a focus on innovating for people has been able to nurture and amplify both emerging and established creative talent through the innovative OPPO Collections at SA Fashion Week.

On Friday, April 21st this partnership takes centre stage as the newest iteration of the OPPO Collections is revealed at the SA Fashion Week. The show sees Jacques van der Watt of the directional label Black Coffee return for a second season. This time around he is joined by two of the country’s leading female design talents – Hangwani Nengovhela of Rubicon and Enhle Mbali of Essie Apparel.

“Together, these three labels capture the spirit and energy of the South African fashion landscape – from the timeless elegance of Rubicon to the intellectual and structural complexity of the Black Coffee world and the exuberance of Essie, which, in a few short years, has gained an incredible following,” explains Avashnee Moodley, Head of Marketing at OPPO South Africa, about the selection.

OPPO, which continues to carve a foothold in the design space for its commitment to creating dynamic devices which delight users, recently upped the style stakes through the introduction of the Find N2 Flip. This style statement phone, which lets you see more in a snap, has drawn the attention of creative path-finders, with ground breaking designer Rich Mnisi joining forces with the brand to celebrate the arrival of the luxurious premium foldable mobile device.

“We are immensely appreciative of how the fashion firmament has embraced OPPO beyond the ramp and into their lives, as we continue on our path to elevate life through technology,” added Moodley.

Van der Walt, who has been a fixture on the SAFW calendar, says this time around his interest has shifted from being inspired directly by the phone, to immersing the device into every aspect of the design process.

“It has been such a pleasure to collaborate with OPPO again,” said the designer. “I have actually moved all my sketches onto the phone, and I am really enjoying the process. It is so inspiring to have a starting point that makes you think slightly differently to the way you normally do.”

Designers Enhle Mbali and Hangwani Nengovhela join Jacques van der Watt to illuminate technology as an art form thanks to OPPO

Meanwhile, Nenghovela, whose label Rubicon is feted for its impeccable craftsmanship, described the process of working with OPPO as “joyful”.

“This phone has changed in many ways the way in which I view smartphones; you don’t get the sense of being overwhelmed with it – everything is in one space, and easy to access. I love the lightness of the device – that makes one dream – and you will see that energy reflected in my collection.”

Enhle, whose brand Essie is a recent arrival to the SA Fashion Week stage, and has rapidly garnered both local and international attention, said the fashion week audience should “expect the unexpected” when it comes to her vision for Spring Summer 2023. “This has been such an exciting journey – and the OPPO phone has been immaculate in capturing the process,” Enhle said.

For Lucilla Booyzen, the convenor and founder of SA Fashion Week, the partnership with OPPO has been stellar. “We have been bowled over by the power brought to us by the marriage between technology and creative fashion design. The complete alignment between the OPPO and SAFW brands over-delivered on all expectations!” Booyzen said. 

The OPPO Collections opens Day 2 of SA Fashion Week’s Spring Summer 2023 showings.  It takes place at 18h30 on Friday, April 21st at the Mall of Africa in Midrand.

18 Apr 2023 11:24