Fashion Frequently Asked Questions

VDJFashionExperienceLogoHow are the Invited Designers selected?
We invite 8 designers who have established businesses or brands. Preferably, they must have shown on other major events such as SA Fashion Week, Johannesburg Fashion Week, Cape Town Fashion Week etc. This is not a platform for designers who want to launch themselves or a brand, it is for those with a good fashion history, established studios and where possible, retail outlets. An established national, media profile is very important. The above criteria must be current. We invite two or three designers from Johannesburg or Cape Town and five from KwaZulu-Natal. In an effort to give as many local designers the opportunity to show, we never show a KwaZulu-Natal designer in two consecutive years.

How do established designers put themselves forward for consideration?
They email the Fashion Programme Director their bio and a media kit at

When are the Invited Designers confirmed?
Usually by the end of March. A final list will appear on this website and on the event’s official Facebook page.

What is required from an Invited Designer and do they compete?
They are required to design a range of three looks – a showstopper and a raceday ensemble for a man and a woman, specifically to the theme. The range must be shown first at the Vodacom Durban July Showcase and on raceday. Invited Designers do not compete.

What is the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award? Who can enter and how does one enter?
It is a pre raceday fashion competition open to final year fashion students, studying with accredited colleges or universities. They may only enter through their college or university and will be required to design and make a themed raceday ensemble for judging purposes.

What are the judging criteria for all the fashion competitions including the raceday on track competitions?
Judges look at the following:-

  • Does the design encompasses the spirit of the Vodacom Durban July and raceday?
    • Is the design interesting, clever, fashion forward and theme driven?
    • Fit, finish, quality?
    • Has the outfit been styled properly?
    • Does the design have a visual impact?
    • Does the designer show obvious design talent?
    • Attention to detail?
    • Has the designer been clever in the interpretation of the theme and brief?
  • Has the designer selected the correct fabric, trim etc. to work with?

Deliberation between judges also plays a role in selecting finalists and winners.

Who judges the fashion competitions? How are judges selected?
Judges are selected based on their knowledge of fashion and the event. They are very often designers, fashion journalists, fashion lecturers, fashion producers or celebrities who are considered stylish and fashionable. There are always five judges on each judging panel to ensure that a clear winner is always found. Please bear in mind that the judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding their decision.

Where are the pre-raceday fashion events held? Can anyone attend?
All pre-raceday fashion events are held in the Silver Ring Room, second floor at Greyville Racecourse. 

What is the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Experience Young Designer Award Semi-Finals?
It is a show that features 25 Young Designer Award semi-finalists, where the ten finalists are selected. It also features the work of five well known guest designers. Entry to this event is FREE.

What is the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase?
Two shows that each feature the ten Young Designer Award finalists and the eight Invited Designers. The shows will be held on 21 and 22 June at Greyville Racecourse. Tickets will be available each night with a choice of a “catered” option or a “show only” option.

How do I interpret this year’s theme?
It is a very elegant, chic, stylish and classical. Judges will be looking for garments that are on trend and beautifully executed. Fit, quality and finish are very important. Consider all aspects of the look – the hat, accessories, shoes and overall grooming. Remember, this is a raceday, not an evening event.

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