Brand new fashion platform at #VDJ2019

The boldly reshaped Vodacom Durban July fashion programme will feature a brand new event that will showcase the work of eight Durban-based designers who have a strong relationship to the event and the Durban Fashion Fair.

Called the ‘Amazing Africa Collection’, the show will feature local fashion designers Sibusiswe Msimang, Treasure Cindi, Eli Ball, Melinda Corrine, Vanessa Pillay, Martin John Steenkamp, Warren Morck and Kwenzi Nkomo in a non-competitive opportunity to unleash their creative interpretations of the raceday theme ‘Stars of Africa’.

The common link binding the 8 designers is their involvement with the Durban Fashion Fair, a long-standing supporter of the Vodacom Durban July fashion programme and a crucial pillar of support for many emerging models and fashion design professionals in the eThekwini Municipality.

Sindi Shangase, who oversees the Durban Fashion Fair programme for the city, says it has been a great success story and the new show will be an excellent platform to highlight the depth of talent in the region and the success stories that have moved through their ranks.

“Zama Mathe launched her range at the DFF in 2012 and she is a Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer again this year. Casey Jeanne also launched using DFF and the Vodacom Durban July as a platform and she is highly successful now,” said Shangase.

“So many designers and fashion professionals try to start out launching their brands on their own,” she noted. “By pooling our efforts we can offer them far greater reach and this really helps to develop the industry and launch careers in a far more impactful way.”

“This show will be a celebration of our successes as much as it is a way to continue our efforts to launch careers of another generation of powerful local brands.

“It sits well alongside the theme ‘Stars of Africa’ and we will be looking to profile stars from this city, South Africa and indeed the continent of Africa,” she added.

Fashion programme director, Tiffany Prior, added that the rationale behind the non-competitive platform was a logical extension of the powerful programme that draws together the Durban Fashion Fair and events like the Vodacom Durban July to positively influence the careers of aspirant fashion professionals.

“Durban has always been a hotbed of fashion design talent and the amazing work that the DFF does to support the next generation of talent is truly remarkable.

“This show is a celebration of the successes of this collaboration and to highlight the opportunities available to fashion professionals starting their careers,” said Prior.

“The 8 designers have all made their mark on the fashion design industry. What they all have in common is their journey as Durban designers who have been helped on their way by the Durban Fashion Fair and the Vodacom Durban July fashion platforms,” she said.

The 8 designers showing in the Amazing Africa Collection are:

Sibu Msimang
Treasure Cindi
Eli Ball
Melinda Corrine
Vanessa Pillay
Martin John Steenkamp
Warren Morck
Kwenzi Nkomo

Stellar line up for Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase

Durban – The eight places in the line-up for the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase presented by Durban Fashion Fair have been confirmed, spotlighting the talent of some of the best known fashion designers in the country.

All of the designers have featured in the prestigious, non-competitive showcase before, and all have strong connections to the Vodacom Durban July.

Pace-setting Durban designers Zama Mathe, Kathrin Kidger, Madelain Clark, Brenda Quin, Karen Monk Klijnstra and Mxolisi Mkhize will be joined by Cape Town-based duo Ludwig Bausch and Bridget Pickering and Gauteng ace Hangwani Nengovhela.

Nengovhela, the force behind the brand Rubicon, jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase again, and according to Fashion Programme Director Tiffany Prior she always brings something special to the show. “With her SA Fashion Week profile and her passion for this event, she is a great to have back as an Invited Designer,” said Prior.

While Bausch and Pickering operate out of Cape Town, both hail from Durban. “They have lovingly continued the brand Ruff Tung,” says Prior. “There is a very strong connection to the event as the late great Paul Botha insisted on sharing the credit for his last showing at the Invited Designer Showcase with Ludwig.”

Zama Mathe, who’s Zarth brand has a cult following, was another to quickly accept the invitation to return to the showcase. “Whether she is showing her range or judging or mentoring, she brings so much to the fashion industry.”

Highway designer Brenda Quin through her Diva Designs brand has been a long-standing supporter of the Vodacom Durban July.

“She really understands the event and raceday fashion, and she adds a lot of value to the line-up,” said Prior.

Mxolisi Mkhize has an extensive following for his brand House of St Luke and makes a welcome return to the showcase.

“His connection to the event goes back to 2011, and he is happy to get involved in all aspects of the event, from being an Invited Designer to a judge, which he also does for the Durban Fashion Fair,” noted Prior.

Kloof-based Karen Monk Klijnstra has an enviable reputation for making a bold statement as an Invited Designer. “She is passionate about this event and KMK is always like a creative time-bomb waiting to explode,” said Prior.

Amanzimtoti’s design star Madelain Clark has earned her Vodacom Durban July stripes and Prior said she was thrilled to have her back as a invited designer. “She fully understands raceday fashion, and she is always involved in the Vodacom Durban July fashion programme,” said Prior. “And more often than not she wins the competitions she enters!”

Completing the impressive cast is Durbanite Kathrin Kidger. With an extensive clientele she happily immerses herself in all aspects of the raceday fashion programme, and her elegant feminine touch is always a stand-out part of the the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase.

Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase:
Brenda Quin (Diva Designs), Ludwig Bausch and Bridget Pickering (Ruff Tung), Mxolisi Mkhize (House of St Luke), Hangwani Nengovhela (Rubicon), Karen Monk Klijnstra (KMK), Kathrin Kidger (Kathrin Kidger of South Africa), Madelain Clark (Madsexclusive), Zama Mathe (Zarth)

A Blue Train odyssey with Maps Maponyane

The stately stream of Nguni cows that walked past in the veld beyond where the Blue Train had come to stop may not fit the strictly technical definition of Afrofuturism. But as Maps Maponyane reclined in a sumptuous leather chair on the train and watched the cows amble past, there was a perfect harmony in place.

“This is a beautiful way of thinking about the past of it all before really thinking about the future,” said Maponyane as he considered what he termed the beautiful juxtaposition of the timeless elegance of The Blue Train with the cultural revolution that is Afrofuturism.

For Maponyane, this particular trip on The Blue Train for the launch of the Vodacom Durban July Red Experience was itself a bucket-list moment.

As he stepped off the platform at Pretoria Station, walked across the red carpet and was then welcomed onto the train by one of the butlers, it was the realisation of the long-desired dream of any serious traveller to experience one of the most iconic and luxurious train journeys in the world, with a heritage dating back to 1923, and a history of travellers including royalty and celebrities.

And he predicts it will be the same for the Vodacom Red clients who join him for the main event over the weekend of the Vodacom Durban July.

Maponyane will travel with 10 Vodacom Red winners of this exclusive experience as they leave Pretoria Station on Friday 5 July and travel in style overnight from Pretoria to Durban, and are then escorted to Greyville Racecourse and the Vodacom Durban July on Saturday for a day of Vodacom Red VIP hospitality at the Vodacom Paddock.

Once at the Vodacom Paddock, they’ll have a front-row seat to the latest creations from a gathering of designers including Laduma, Rina from Ri.Ch Factory and Sindiso Khumalo as they unveil their interpretations of the “Stars of Africa” theme.

“I really like the juxtaposition between the Afrofuturism and Stars of Africa concept with the Blue Train, which is essentially Afroclassicalism. It may be classical, but it can also always continue to be the future. It’s such a classical part of travel in South Africa and will always be timeless. That’s what makes so much sense in the Vodacom Durban July and the Blue Train coming together. Certainly, if you think of the stars of travel, the Blue Train is definitely one of the stars of Africa,” he says from an observation carriage that is now bathed in the glow of a lazy Sunday afternoon sun.

Maponyane is a man who travels extensively worldwide, representing brands and ideas on a multitude of stages. It would be easy to mistake him as a man drawn only to the comforts of the business lounge at an airport and efficiency of first-class flights. But train travel is arguably his most complete form of travel.

“Train travel is the form of travel I appreciate the most. Obviously, air travel is the most efficient. But particularly when I’m in Europe, I prefer to travel by train because it connects you so quickly to the rest of the country or continent. And it’s a fantastic way to take in the landscape. I can also be productive and work while traveling. Train travel allows me to get so much more from my seated experience of going somewhere. I find train travel by far the most comfortable form of travel. I wish we could do it so much more in South Africa.

“And what a better way to be able to see the beauty of South Africa than in the luxury of The Blue Train? The Blue Train is an icon with a great heritage in South Africa. The wood finishes, the leather chairs and all of the furnishings just exude this magnificent heritage. It feels like you are on this five-star hotel on wheels.”

As an expert in how to make the most of his travel experience, Maponyane has his own list of must-haves for a trip to the Vodacom Durban July on The Blue Train.

“The first thing I would suggest you bring is a notebook and a pen. Looking out the window you just have so many beautiful thoughts, ideas, appreciations and moments of gratitude. I think it would be beautiful to document these and to develop that stream of consciousness of what you’re really feeling when you’re in motion on the Blue Train.

“Secondly, a camera phone to capture the special moments. But don’t be on the phone constantly.

“And finally, bring an appetite because the food and beverages are very considered and to get the full experience you want to make sure you come hungry in order to experience everything on offer. So I’d say come with an open mind and empty stomach.”

A journey on Africa’s most iconic train, to Africa’s most iconic horseracing vent, and where time is not money.

It is the luxury of time that is the true wealth of a train journey.

To catch a glimpse of what to expect on the Red Blue Train Experience to the Vodacom Durban July click here