With exactly a month to go to the 2021 running of the Vodacom Durban July, the organisers of the event’s fashion programme have released the names of five household name designers who will participate in the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase, presented by Durban Fashion Fair.

Respected fashion industry trailblazer Leigh Schubert makes a return to the annual raceday showcase event, and will be joined in the five strong line-up by fellow Durban designers Sandile Duke Mngadi, of the Clothe Your Soul label, and Zama Mathe, whose Zarth label has garnered a strong national following.

Another returning industry icon is Johannesburg-based Hangwani Nenghovela, the driving force behind the Rubicon label.

Capetonian Lara Klawikowski, who’s rapid rise to prominence in the fashion industry had much to do with her winning the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award as a student, completes the selection.

The Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase has always been a highlight of the pre-raceday fashion build-up programme and generates much interest online for the unveiling of the the work of the hand-picked Invited Designers each year.

Fashion programme director Tiffany Prior said that although the current lockdown would limit the chances to see the ranges of the Invited Designers in traditional show format, she expected this to heighten interest in the revealing of their creations through videos and photographs online.

“Whilst 2020 and 2021 have seen a very different Vodacom Durban July Fashion Experience, I am thrilled that our five amazing Invited Designers from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg have embraced this year’s theme,” said Prior.

“Each of them has a very distinctive creative “handwriting’’ and understanding of the event and I have no doubt we will see beautiful work with attention to colour, detail and texture,’ she added.

“Leigh Schubert won best collection on show at Durban Fashion Fair last year, making her a perfect choice for the event and for our fashion partner,” said Prior. “I love her style and after chatting to her I know that she will deliver a very considered beautiful collection.”

“Sandile Mngadi loves Durban and his label, Duke Clothe your Soul, will stay true to his design vision and definitely add a completely different twist on the theme.

“Hangwani Nenghovela and Rubicon Clothing is an icon brand in South Africa. She has just shown her full collection at SA Fashion Week which was gorgeous. It already has theme-related ideas and I’m certain she’ll expand on these,” said Prior.

“Zama Mathe is always full of surprises with her understanding and love of the Vodacom Durban July. I’m certain we’ll see what she does best,” Prior added. “There is always loads of energy around her collections.

“I am so proud that we have invited Lara Klawikowski to this year’s event. As our 2009 Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award winner, Lara has spent the last decade building her brand and career very successfully.

“The theme this year is so perfect for her and we will see this in her choice of her own fabrications and design ideas,” Prior concluded.