On Saturday nigth at SA Fashion Week I sat opposite Abigail Betz. She looked very unhappy and twittered about this throughout the shows I watched. I tried to capture her on my iPhone but the lighting was too bad. The Times published a story about what she had to say and then yesterday she released this release.
at the abigail betz house of couture we believe in striving to achieve excellence, more than that we pride ourselves in bringing forth the highest quality of art and fashion within the realm of couture as well as the ready-to-wear fashion industry within south africa and beyond. our focus is to positively endorse superb creation on all platforms regarding both our own items as well as the creations of other designers and artists, but also to express fair, just and unbiased opinions & constructive criticism of those we share this platform with.
it is in this spirit that we’d like to express the following regarding our comments on social media-initiative twitter:
as a designer, i abigail betz, have showcased with south african fashion week 15 times in the past, and recently (in 2010) made the move to african fashion international (also known as joburg fashion week) based on my opinion that they have a better understanding of my brand and how i would like to represent my brand.
i was disappointed in the organization by south african fashion week regarding the state of the venue, the marketing and the quality of select works shown. the venue, which i was told from a source within south african fashion week had not been finished on time and was still in production to the last minute, seemed to be an ill-designed space with various elements that served as safety hazards – proof of this was the skywalk connecting the different area’s of the venue which was an insecure construction without any forms of safety (apart from swaying railing) that hung 3 stories in the air. to add to these circumstances, there was a massive gap (approximately 25cm’s wide) on this skywalk that guests had to cross, which could very easily result in fatal injury. futhermore, the organizers of south african fashion week did not warn guests prior to their entry of this bridge, that it was only safe for eight people at a time to cross the bridge, and the result was extreme panic by the organizers when they noticed a group of over 20 people crossing at a time. i felt extremely unsafe and dissatisfied with the reception and the manner in which the panic was handled.
next, during more than one of the shows on the opening night, certain persona’s were placed on ramp (to the delight of the organizers and certain audience members) whom in my opinion were unhealthily overweight and would be considered obese. it is to be made clear at this point that i in no way aim at insulting anyone, but it is factually clear in south africa and in the international community that obesity is just as unhealthy as anorexia (which has been publically critisized ample times in the past within the fashion industry) and thus should in no way be celebrated by any designer or entity that ascociates themselves with the fashion industry.
i say this within the realm of constructive critisizm towards a healthy approach to fashion where the public is encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle – it is my opnion that ultimate beauty lies within being healthy. ultimate beauty is being healthy.
regarding the aesthetic of the venue in question, i felt that it was unfinished and did not serve its purpose as display platform for the artwork produced within the realm of fashion. i feel very serious about my art (note, to me it is not merely a trade, but a form of art) and as a passionate artist i would be highly disappointed in the lack of attention to detail and also the general lack of organization and communication between the organizers and guests with reference to key issues.
when looking at the work displayed at fashion week, i was highly disappointed in especially the young talent displaying their pride and joy (which is exactly what it is meant to be) seeing as it was clear that the lack of attention to detail was not only present in the organization of sa fashion week. as a designer i’d like to repeat that i take my craft very seriously, and it is my right to voice my opinion if a mockery is made of the art i associate myself with. however, i have to also mention that it was omitted in all public content that i mentioned the following artists who’s work i thoroughly enjoyed:
it is clear to me that the established artists have grown amazingly and are delivering top quality, whilst the new crowd has a long way to go and also some very big shoes to fill – i hope they take my critisizm as intended (constructively) and grow into amazing artists.
this is how i feel, and it is to be made clear that all this is said within the spirit of clear and constructive critisizm and is not in any way intended to defame any person/s or entity/ies involved herewith.
regarding miss milli b
firstly, here is the paragraph blogger miss milli b wrote on myself, which is clear legal infringement and defamation:
“one thing that wasn’t cool about that night though was sitting across from abigail betz who was saying some deeply inappropriate and tactless things on twitter about the shows and sa fashion week. for someone whose brand exudes class and sophistication, her attitude and tweets were an #epicfail and reeked of the dustbins that are collecting all over Joburg as a result of the garbage collectors’ stayaway.”
i would like to say only but the following regarding miss milly b:
i would like to invite you with open arms and a smile on my face to enter into public conversation regarding my comments, and would also hereby on a public press release like to invite you to the abigail betz house of couture for coffee, or tea. we have great coffee. we have taste, class and we are opinionated. we work hard. we judge the lack of exceptional quality because we create exceptional quality. i am a person of high standards and values, and although i do not in any way respect your blatant attack, i will not remove your right to freedom of speech and would therefore rather take the first step towards healthy conversation.
i have no need whatsoever to explain myself to you, seeing as you obviously do not believe in freedom of speech, but would still offer a portion of my time towards this conversation – i believe in education.
regarding comments of discrimination
it has been said on certain platforms that i have discriminated against african women based on size, which is in no way true. i merely stated that obesity is unhealthy, and never did i even once mention a racial issue or traditional matter. i believe it is everyone’s right to be healthy and to live exceptionally full lives, and thus would not wish the consequences of extreme obesity on any person – regardless of their heritage.
i am beyond disappointed with abigail beta and anything associated with her brand. over promise and under-deliver seems to be her mantra. greatest disappointment of my life. a wedding day almost ruined thanks to this apparent wedding couture expert.
An Abigail Betz couture dress for your wedding? Think again. R74 000 later & no couture items as promised and expected, just lousy garments which I could have bought on the side of the street. Broken zips, bad bad workmanship, beading that looked like it was done by a 5 year old, ill fitting clothes, bad quality fabric, bones in the bodice that were too long or too short, bodices that had to be stuck down with industrial double sided tape as they kept falling down. My bridal dress and bridal party dresses, waistcoats, mother of the bride outfit, etc were outsourced and only received at 09h30 on the morning of our wedding – although we started consulting in February. In just 3 weeks, all business and contact with Abigail has gone pear shaped. Calls weren’t answered, meetings couldn’t be confirmed, messages weren’t responded to, website was down, cell numbers changed. My fiance was held to ransom and locked in her flat till final payment was done into some weird bank account not in her name. Not a single receipt received for monies paid, . Outrageous prices for a couple of additional items ordered – some of which had already been quoted in the first quote. She has derailed if she thinks that paying a large amount of money for disgusting items somehow creates the illusion that its not going to be questioned. She has derailed if she tells a client that our wedding garments on the morning of the wedding will not be released until the final payment is made by cash or eft’d into some weird account. At first they insisted on cash which we completely refused. Abigail is not the beautiful couture designer we met at the beginning of the year. The beautifully manicured, groomed, successful, creative power woman that I met no longer wears makeup, hair lies limp on her head, nails bitten down to nothing, dark rings around the eyes, experiences memory loss and constantly refers to drawings, no recons for payments made. Stating she has had a problem with drugs and that her dealer is at the door and will hurt her if she doesn’t pay up! and sadly more which I shall not mention…… We were put through sheer hell, lied to, ripped off and placed in terrible danger. From a beautiful showroom and property on Houghton Drive to an untidy flat in Illovo – from tea and cake served on a tray with rose petals to a halfhearted explanation that she couldn’t afford to offer champagne due to her ‘circumstances’. What circumstances? We didn’t change anything in the contract? She did – she changed everything. We bought an emotional Abigail and her children supper at 8.30pm after a fitting as there was nothing in her flat to eat – and of course no reimbursement offered. Beware brides to be. Beware! Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Could have ruined our day – almost did. My 5 bridesmaids couldn’t lie dreamily in bed on the eve of my wedding, dresses hanging on the cupboard door in their rooms, fantasising about the following day’s celebration. We were all sick with worry. And filled with disappointment. Is this representative of the entire Betz bridal industry? My recommendation – buy off the rail and save yourself unnecessary trauma during such an important time of your life.