Essie Apparel reimagines winter in their AW23 collection

October 25, 2022

Essie Apparel presented its much-anticipated AW23 collection at this year’s SA Fashion Week. Taking place this past week between the 20th and 22nd of October 2022, Essie showcased its well-tailored ready-to-wear fashion show.

Inspired by Africa’s one-of-a-kind winter, Essie AW23 takes into consideration the chilly mornings, balmy afternoons and cold nights. Made entirely in South Africa, Essie AW23 reimagines winter wear with its bright colours, low cuts and form-fitting wear. This year, the runway also saw Essie Apparel present menswear as part of their collection. It is as delicious as the women’s collection, with its tailor-made suites and suave coats. 

Developed with the fashion-forward globetrotter in mind, Essie has established a dedicated following since the launch of its first collection. It featured:

  • Faux leather dresses
  • Catsuits
  • Skirts
  • Puffy jackets 
  • Faux fur coats

This bold new look caused a stir both locally and internationally. Since then, the label has been featured in Italian Vogue and garnered its first international award, and it was presented at Fashion Community Week in San Francisco in 2020. 

Enhle Mbali on Essie Apparel

The brainchild of fashion designer, actress and TV presenter Enhle Mbali, Essie Apparel is known for its fusion designs. She combines her simple and classy style with the right touch of African-inspired edginess. The new AW23 collection is set to top even the triumph of the AW22 collection that brought an audacious new take on the safari look to the catwalk – effortlessly combining khaki, leather, chiffon and other luxury materials in statement pieces. They sent a clear message about the quality and innovation of high-end fashion in Africa today – fashion that has broken new ground since 2020. 

“Almost unexpectedly, interest in luxury fashion didn’t wane during the pandemic,” says Mbali. “In fact, it weathered the storm better than leading brands like H&M, Esprit, Gap, Zara and J Crew. Tech-savvy buyers moved seamlessly from the physical environment into the online environment, radically extending both reach and accessibility. Prior to 2020, it was unheard of to search for and purchase luxury brands online, but a dramatic turnaround in consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns over the past two-and-a-half years has changed all that.” 

An Essie Apparel girl and guy

The interest in innovative statement fashion, in particular, has skyrocketed. 

“The audiences that are attracted to our designs are looking for fashion that says something about who they are, where they come from, where they’re going and how they see the world,” says Mbali. “That’s why we combine our proven commitment to workmanship and quality materials with a distinctive creativity and our own special note of urban whimsy. It’s also why our collections speak to contemporary audiences in such a powerful way and why we’ll be making them available online from mid-November. And we’re actively promoting them across all social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.”

Essie Apparel speaks to a new generation that is proud of its heritage and, at the same time, defines itself as a borderless cohort of globally interconnected trendsetters. 

“The exciting silhouettes of the AW23 collection imagine new frontiers and are infused with our ethos of continually pushing boundaries,” says Mbali. “From a design perspective, they bring together the visual experience of living in contemporary Africa, an evolution of emotional experiences, the influence of travel and an innate passion for the arts.  

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