Of these buyers, 76 are local buyers and 74 international buyers from countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, The Netherlands, South Korea and Dubai. A further 13 buyers have registered specifically for the jewellery showcase.
“The Expo is a fantastic opportunity for international buyers to meet the designers and see the products beautifully displayed. It’s also great to see new designers and products that are out there. Designers have a goal to work towards the Indaba and then to present the work in a complete way. Work takes on a new light when beautifully displayed on a stand. The Design Indaba Expo has come of age, it feels grown-up in size,” said Expo jewellery curator and buyer Jennifer Fair after a satisfied buying experience last year.
Featuring only original, contemporary and innovative product made and conceived in South Africa, the Design Indaba Expo has been the quintessential showcase of local creative products for five years. Annually growing in reputation and scope, the Expo has recorded exponential growth in both buyers and visitors with more than 20 000 visitors and 112 buyers last year.
Longstanding Design Indaba partner, the Department of Trade and Industry also acknowledge the economic potential of encouraging international awareness of South African creative products. This year, the dti are sponsoring 20 buyers from brands including Galeries Lafayette, Kizow, Catembo, Rainbow Gallery, Globus Department Stores and the Urban Collective to attend the event.
“The dti has been involved with the Design Indaba Expo since its inception and every year we are inundated with more and more buyer requests. The Expo is evidently growing international opportunities for creative South African entrepreneurs to leverage their goods and services – and this corresponds entirely with the dti’s mandate,” said Nadia Sujee, the dti's Director of Creative Industries.
“Displaying constant growth, the Design Indaba Expo is also remarkable for not having stagnated. This is possibly because of its long-term investments in building skills, technology and infrastructure platforms, and broad-based BEE initiatives. Keeping it proudly South African, Design Indaba has also elevated the profile of local design among local audiences,” Sujee continued.
The economic leverage of the buyers attending Expo is significant. In 2005 the dti-supported foreign buyers alone ordered in excess of R1 million, in 2006 over R1,5 million and in 2007 more than R3 million from Expo exhibitors.
More than financial success, is the growing international reputation of South African designers. Eco-light designer Heath Nash participated in 100% London and 100% Tokyo last year thanks to contacts made at the Expo, while architect and industrial designer Tsai received a Red Dot award for his Nested Bunkbeds, first shown at the Expo. In turn, Streetwires’s participation in the Expo resulted in a commission for 200 life-sized wire sheep from an American company.
“I find the Design Expo an invaluable event for touching base with established designers, discovering fresh emerging talent, feeling the heartbeat of our growing industry and for having a really good time,” said Trevyn McGowan a South African sourcing agent for the international retail market, including the Conran Shop in the UK and Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Terrain in the US. She also works with a number of boutique stores in Europe. In 2007 she wrote R10-million worth of orders for South African products.
Mike Purdham, Design Expo manager, agreed: “South African design improves in quality and quantity every year. This year the Design Indaba Expo is bigger than ever in terms of exhibitors and floor space. With more buyers too, we are expecting the financial indicators to set a record high.”
Design Indaba Expo has always set a benchmark in the South African design industry. Rather than being filled, like traditional trade shows, the Expo is curated by an advisory panel of the best South African designers, stylists, critics and industry experts. Thus, a high standard of originality, production and commercial value is ensured well before the doors even open to the public.
“Based on the qualifying portfolios, this year’s exhibitors are an indication of how much the local design fraternity has grown in terms of both scope and excellence. More than 250 exhibitors are confirmed. Design stalwarts are returning with new products, while at least 50 brand new exhibitors will be charming the Expo visitors for the first time,” Purdham went on.This year also sees the launch of a dedicated fashion hall sponsored by SABC. The space will host all-day fashion shows and a South African short film and music video festival. Building on the fashion concept introduced in 2007, the fashion arena will again reject the traditional runway for a more atmospheric approach. A fashion boutique will also be housed in the space.
Cape Town International Convention Centre, Halls 1a, 2 and 3
Public opening hours:
23 to 26 February 2008
Saturday – 10am to 6pm
Sunday – 10am to 6pm
Monday – 11am to 6pm
Tuesday – 11am to 6pm
No pre-booking is necessary, and tickets are available at the door at a cost of:
R45 – adults
R25 – students and pensioners
R15 – kids under 12
Kids under 5 are free