“Without a doubt the Vodacom Durban July has played a vital role in my career path, leading me to where I am today. It has helped me develop my aesthetic and cultivate my ultimate brand identity and I don’t think I would have a nationally recognized bridal collection and my own couture studio in Durban without that experience.
“The entire fashion program is meticulously executed and on an international standard too,” says Lues. “Race day fever is definitely a real thing!”
The talented designer recognises the value of fashion competitions as a way to push creative boundaries, gain invaluable exposure and ultimately build a career.
One such fashion platform is the Vodacom Durban July, with Lues embracing the unique opportunity for over a decade. She recalls her first experience with the prestigious racing and fashion event in 2005 as one of her proudest moments.
As a third year Fashion and Design student from the Victoria Toma Institute in Bloemfontein she was chosen as a finalist for the Fashion Challenge and flown to Durban to showcase her design. Just a few years later she was experiencing the excitement of race day by showcasing her own collection of garments as part of the prestigious Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase.
Lues has since showcased her distinct creations on numerous other national platforms including Vukani! Awards, the Mr Price 031 Collections, Renault New Talent Awards, Lufthansa First Best Collections and SA Fashion Week, where she was selected to showcase for an impressive four more seasons following her debut.
The accomplished designer believes that fashion competitions are a vital learning ground for up and coming designers.
“As a young designer competitions offer valuable exposure in media and fashion-peer circles giving them a glimpse of what the real industry is like,” says Lues. “The competitions I have entered have taught me countless lessons.”
All these experiences have helped her to establish her own brand that will soon be expanding internationally. Apart from creating expertly crafted, custom designed, bespoke bridal gowns from her Durban studio, where she’s now based, Lues has just launched a demi-couture collection of twenty breath-taking gowns.
Her designs reflect elements of bygone eras and display her intricate attention to detail. Lues loves working with brides each day: “Being entrusted with making their dream princess dress come to life is a beautiful thing. I am able to use my passion and expertise in unison to create garments that are treasured for generations to come.”
And for aspiring designers hoping to follow her path or forge their own, Lues advises: “If this is what you want, more than any other career, then never give up because this job is anything but easy. In the end it’ll all be worth it as this isn’t just a job, it’s a passion.”
The fashion competitions form part of the Vodacom Durban July, the biggest horseracing and fashion event in the country, taking place on July 2 at Greyville Racecourse in Durban. For more information and entry details go to www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za
To find out more about Hanrie Lues go to www.hanrielues.com