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Glitz and glamour return to Johannesburg on Thursday 5 March when the country’s established and emerging designers converge on Melrose Arch for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg.

Running until Saturday 7 March, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, a partnership between the City of Johannesburg and Africa Fashion International (AFI), kicks off South Africa’s fashion calendar in a big way, setting the standards for a season of sartorial success.

Showcasing their latest Autumn-Winter 2015 collections, designer heavyweights such as Ruald Rheeder, Stefania Morland, Suzaan Heyns, Marianne Fassler, Fabiani, Khosi Nkosi, Tart, Augustine, KL Tsotetsi and Samantha Constable are set to draw the attention of the world’s fashionistas to Joburg.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg 2015 will also continue the attention of fashion media luminaries like Vogue Italia, Glamour France, Time Magazine, L’Officiel India Magazine, New African Women and BBC TV, all of which were in attendance at MBFWJ 2014.

“Johannesburg has the energy and buzz that have made it a centre of Afropolitan identity. As one of the world’s leading financial centres, it offers creative freedom to designers with the economic and commercial opportunities rarely available in African urban spaces. There is an exceptional collection of designers who will be showcasing their Autumn/ Winter designs and it has become AFI’s number one objective to provide these designers with commercial viability,” says Sizwe Nzimande, AFI's Group Marketing Manager.

The fashion institute will also showcase its incubation project “Fastrack”, which curates and incubates young talent, providing them with the opportunity to develop and grow into successful, sustainable designers and entrepreneurs."

“We are incredibly passionate about the Fastrack programme as it directly develops the new generation of fashion design talent and gives them a platform for success. In addition, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg provides a fashion podium to turn the international spotlight on local designers, recognising them as more than dressmakers and, rather, celebrating them as trendsetters. The designers who will be showcased this year will no doubt enjoy immense respect and success,” adds Nzimande.

AFI Fastrack finalists from previous years will also be given a platform, through AFI Next Generation, to showcase their collections.

Previous AFI Next Generation designers already becoming firm household names in the South African fashion industry include Khothatso Tsotetsi, who will be showcasing his first independent, ready-to-wear collection at the show under his brand Tsotetsi KL.

Another is Tzvi Karp, who was recognised as one of the most influential young South Africans in 2013. This year AFI Next Generation designers who will all showcase collections are Jess Sutherland, Eleni Lebrou and Rich Mnisi.