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Feb 20, 2020

45 Leading SA Designers Set To Go Global At Cape Town Exhibition

Local and international buyers will be treated to the new ranges of 45 of South Africa’s top designers at this year’s NEXT20 Trade Exhibition, taking place this month at the V&A Waterfront. The NEXT20 Trade Exhibition, an initiative of the Craft and Design Institute (CDI), takes place from 27 February to 1 March 2020 and attendance is free to all visitors.

The 2020 exhibition, the third such event hosted in Cape Town, is part of the CDI’s export development programme, which helps small and medium businesses in South Africa to develop and grow. Over 70 entrepreneurs have been participating in this programme, taking their design studio, workshop or manufacturing company to the ‘next level’, and onwards to the export market.

The product ranges on show at the trade event include small furniture, lighting, home textiles, fashion and home accessories. The 45 businesses represent the best of South African craft and design, ready to be ordered by local and international importers, retailers and decorators.

The CDI is a South African non-profit company with over 18 years of success in developing creative people, small businesses and the craft and design sector at large. The CDI currently supports over 5 600 businesses and individuals in the South African craft and design sector.

The CDI export development programme has been running for several years and was initiated and run with the support of the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI). The programme saw an average of over 50% increase in export sales (from 2016 to 2018 to Eu bropean markets). The NEXT Trade Exhibition was launched in 2018, and has grown annually. The 2019 event drew in dozens of international trade buyers from a diverse array of countries such as Denmark, France, Sweden, Italy and the US amongst other countries, many of whom travelled to Cape Town specifically for the trade exhibition.

The CDI export development programme focusses on the professional development of entrepreneurs, providing training and coaching to prepare them for entry into the international market. To put into practice the training, some of the businesses have participated in leading trade fairs such as Maison & Objet in Paris and Ambiente in Frankfurt. The project also provided opportunities to participate in South African trade fairs, such as 100% Design and SARCDA.

Executive Director of the CDI, Erica Elk, said the export development programme, and the annual NEXT Trade Exhibition, has been a hugely successful platform for local small businesses to take their products and South African design to the world.

“The training opportunities provided by the CDI to these South African enterprises have helped them take a significant step forward into the international marketplace, which is evident in their increase in export sales. Since the inception of NEXT two years ago, we have seen buyers visit the trade exhibition from across the world, and we fully expect that this year we will attract even more with an expanded group on our programme and the incredible new product ranges being brought into the market.”

The NEXT20 exhibition will be featuring over a dozen new participants this year, along with new ranges by more established makers.

Participating for the first time this year is OneOfEach, producers of bespoke African-inspired handbags and accessories, co-owned by Tamburai Chirume and her mother, Pauline. Tamburai said participating in this year’s trade show is a dream come true. “The journey to this point in our company has been supported greatly by the CDI, I am very grateful for that. I look forward to meeting and interacting with all the buyers and showcasing my products,” she said.

Walk the Talk Africa will be showcasing its new range of handcrafted slippers which are made using fabric remnants, off-cuts and discontinued fabric books. An award-winning sculptor, woodcarver and artist Boniface Chikwenhere, founder of Unique Driftwood Creations, is another new exhibitor and will showcase his beautiful new carved pieces.


The NEXT Trade Exhibition will take place from 27 February to 1 March 2020. It is open from 10:00 – 19:00 on the weekdays and on Saturday 29 February; and 10:00 to 17:00 on Sunday 01 March. The venue is Workshop17 on the mezzanine level of the V&A Watershed at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to funding from the Department of Arts and Culture, with the support of the Dutch Consulate, which funded export training during the past year, and the V&A Waterfront and Workshop17, who have provided the 2020 venue.

See www.thecdi.org.za/page/NEXT20Tradeshow for more.

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