Fashion fuses with décor in innovative Decorex SA feature

If there’s one thing the recent Oscar awards’ ceremony showed us, it’s that fashion isn’t just about what you wear. Fashion sends a message. Fashion reflects our personalities. And fashion unites us.

“Fashion has always played an important role historically, from the opulent clothing of the Victorian era to the roaring 20s, and beyond! The material, colours and textures tell us so much about the time period as well as the people wearing the outfits,” explained Sian Cullingworth, Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions. “Interestingly, the elements that influence fashion trends are often related to those that influence the trends in décor. These two creative worlds are very much intertwined – and we are excited to showcase this at the 2019 Decorex exhibitions!”

anita bloom creative director at decorex sa wearing the official jewellery for Decorex SA 2019 by Fabrikate Studio

Anita Bloom, Creative Director at Decorex SA, wearing the official jewellery for Decorex SA 2019 by Fabrikate Studio.

Always setting the bar for creative expression, Decorex SA has introduced an unconventional, funky feature to the 2019 exhibition programme. Students from INSCAPE – the fashion and design institution – have formulated a unique fashion show that will show you exactly how fashion and design merge when it comes to trends. INSCAPE will also share their fashion insights, alongside South Africa’s top design influencers, at the innovative Instudio Trend Theatre by ABSA.

An evolving relationship

Thulare Matlaba, Global Brand Manager at INSCAPE, has given some insights into how fashion and décor have grown closer over the years.

“In the last 20 to 30 years, fashion has largely influenced décor,” he explained. “However, with retro being trendy, fashion has borrowed some of its styling cues from décor. These days, it’s hard to pick which came first because they influence each other and are both influenced by external factors such as culture, music, history, technology and politics – although I’d say fashion is probably the earliest adopter.”

Matlaba cited the Louis Vuitton clutch bags as an excellent example of designs that deliberately interpreted art deco style: “Artistic movements also influence design – fashion, interior and décor – from pop art to modernism, minimalism, post-modernism and beyond. Fashion trends for 2019 include tie-dye and neon; colour schemes we’ve seen before which are likely to find their way into décor and decorating.”

Collaborations between fashion and décor are common. Locally, in 2018, South African-born fashion designer, Nkuli Mlangeni, of The Ninevites Gang, partnered with Trenery Guild to produce a bespoke handwoven rug in salmon, sage and slate hues. Internationally, Gucci collaborated with Richard Ginori to produce a porcelain line that celebrates Italian art and craftsmanship.

Overlapping influences

Borders, angles, framing, features, simplicity, complexity, over-engineering, layering, structure, design; these are all words associated with fashion and décor.

Matlaba expanded, stating: “Where one overlaps the other is probably impossible to define, but you can say with certainty that they feed of each other. Where you live, how you live, what you wear, what you place on your walls… these are all a function of your personal expression and help determine your design aesthetic.”


He said the biggest drivers of the two industries are passion, resources and influences: “All the elements matter. Where you live, how much money you have, your political and religious beliefs, all of it. In every home; rented or owned; you will find at least one element reflective of the occupant. Self-expression occurs in the spaces we occupy and the clothes we wear consciously or unconsciously.”

Fashion and décor define us

He explained that, often, one’s taste in clothing reflected one’s environment and vice versa, with aspects such as access to resources, creativity and the willingness of expression also playing vital roles.

“A neon-patterned scatter cushion here, a vintage curtain there, the antique table from grandma or the odd yellow chair could make a typical apartment feel more eclectic, thus expressing the homeowner’s personality,” said Matlaba. “The services of a good designer can also aid in unearthing your style and help to create a home or office reflective of your personality. Money should not act as a deterrent to creativity.”

Decorex showcases fashion in décor

To give you a real taste of this fashion-décor fusion, INSCAPE Education Group presents 2nd Skin fashion show. This is going to be a really stylish feature whereby INSCAPE second-year Interior and Environmental Design students explore interdisciplinary design practices by crafting on-trend outfits using building materials and associated décor items. Come check out where fashion meets furniture!

In addition to this fashionable feature, the 2019 Decorex exhibition programme will include a number of inspired new installations, including:


  • The Playroom Children’s Decor Project
  • Decorex Urban Living Trend House
  • InStudio Trend Theatre by ABSA
  • The Lighting Project
  • The Bathroom Project
  • Decorex International
  • Wine + Bubbly Bar furnished by Homewood
  • Gourmet Cooking Theatre
  • Rummery + Gin Garden
  • The Illy Experience
  • Bedroom Project
  • The Library by EFAM



Decorex Durban

21 – 24 March 2019

Friday – 10am–8pm

Thursday, Saturday & Sunday – 10am–6pm

Durban Exhibition Centre

Trade-focused day: 22 March 2019

Ticket Prices:    Adults – R95

Student/Pensioners – R85

Kids U12 – R20

Trade – R85


Decorex Cape Town

1 – 5 May 2019

10am – 6pm daily

Cape Town International Convention Centre

Trade-focused day: 2 – 3 May 2019

Ticket Prices:    Adults – R110

Student/Pensioners – R100

Kids U12 – R20

Trade – R100


Decorex Joburg

7 – 11 August 2019

10am – 6pm daily

Gallagher Convention Centre

Public holiday: 9 August

Trade-focused days: 7 – 8 August 2019

Ticket Prices:    Adults – R120

Student/Pensioners – R100

Kids U12 – R20

Trade – R100


For more information, email [email protected]


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