With just weeks to go to the first round of judging for the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award, student designers from every corner of the province are hard at work formalising their ideas for the prestigious competition.
Based on the 2018 Vodacom Durban July theme of “It Is Time”, the students have to present their finished garments to the panel of judges, at Greyville Racecourse on Monday 4 June, in a bid to make the cut for the semi-finals of the competition.
The competition is open to registered student designers from across KwaZulu-Natal, and last year, attracted entries for 105 students representing six different institutions. Organisers expect this to grow in 2018.
At the Lindiwe Khuzwayo School of Fashion, lecturers are working closely with their students to ensure appropriate interpretation of the theme and to ensure the typical cutting edge creativity is tempered with enough practicality to catch the judges attention.
“It has been a tricky theme this year,” Kwame Khuzwayo. “We did a presentation to guide the students in the way they interpret the theme, and now we are working closely with about thirty students to assist them, in whatever way we can, with this competition.”
He said that two of their students, Mnotho Ngema and Thabani Khawula had made the top ten last year, which has served to inspire the current students to emulate and better their feat.
“We can’t wait to see what we will get this year, because we will see the impact that last year’s finalists had on inspiring our students this year,” he added.
“The students have many challenges along the way, from taxi strikes and other disruptions, to the reality of the financial constraints,” said Khuzwayo.
Similarly the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion Design will be looking to ride on the coat tails of the 2017 top ten finalist, Sbonelo Sisobo’s achievements and the stunning win in the competition in 2016, by Leona Pillay, to inspire their current crop of aspiring fashionistas.
“That had an immediate impact on the enthusiasm amongst our students, for sure,” said Pricilla Bika.
“Our students are currently drafting their designs, and we expect to have at least sixteen polished outfits for the first round of judging,’ she added.
“For the second year we have made this competition part of our second year students’ course, and they are loving it,” said DUT lecturer Helen Smith.
“It forms major part of their curriculum and it is the only major competition they will be entering, while our third years work towards the SA Fashion Week competition.
“Last year we were lucky enough to have the top three in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award all from DUT, and that serves to fuel the fire in the second years!” she added.
“Our job is to make sure the ideas and the garments are appropriate to the theme, and to the event, as it is an elegant raceday, with curbing or containing the students’ enthusiasm and creativity,” said Smith.