Monday 15 June 2015

Durban Fashion Fair Mentorship Programme Models Young Designers

Greg Wallis & Terrence Bray with the 2015 DFF mentees!

The Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) Mentorship Programme is gathering momentum as 19 young designers strive to learn all they can about the world of fashion whilst also qualifying for an opportunity for a second mentorship experience of a lifetime in one of the world’s fashion capitals. 

The DFF is a proudly eThekwini initiative developed to grow the fashion industry at large and to formulate employment opportunities and entrepreneurship in our city.

Scores of young designers put their names forward in November last year and 19 were chosen to take part in the programme which includes working closely with some of the city’s top fashion gurus as well as their fellow designers.

As the programme progresses, a minimum of nine aspiring designers will be eliminated from the programme until the maximum of 10 head to Milan for a firsthand experience of the international world of fashion between September & November.

The interns, who range in age from 23 to 35, are all currently working in the fashion industry. Selection was based on three pillars – creativity (which was judged on story boards and garment construction) as well as business acumen (a traceable client base, business plan and business skills).

This month, two of the above 2015 mentees will join the four interns from last year who went to Milan together with invited and established designers in showcasing their creations at an exciting fashion show, hosted by Gelvenor Textiles who are currently celebrating 50 years within the textile industry.

Themed Fashion Over the Decades, this will see the interns divided into groups with each group showcasing fashion from a particular decade, starting with the swinging sixties and ending with the start of the 2000 and beyond. It will bring together the city’s fashionistas as well as buyers, suppliers and industry leaders and media.

All the successful interns from last year and this year will also see their work on the ramp at the Durban Fashion Fair later this year!

According to Sindi Shangase, the Programme Manager for the Business Support Tourism and Markets Unit and who has driven the DFF since inception in 2012, the mentorship programme is intended to train enterprising young designers in all aspects of the fashion business and prepare them and their collections for the DFF and, finally, for mentorship in Milan.

Programme mentors are G & D Apparel’s, Greg Wallis and respected Durban based designer, Terrence Bray, who will assist with orientation, choice of textiles, collection design and styling amongst other clothing related matters and Greg Wallis who will not only guide interns on orientation and textile selection but provide valuable information regarding manufacturing, brand management, costing and entering the world of retail.

Guest lecturers from the industry are all revered members and will take invited turns in assisting in the development of these mentees.

Interns competing for the Milan mentorship are provided with different design briefs each week and assignments. They work in teams, selecting a team leader and critting each other’s work. They are also taught to build collections from start to finish whilst additional modules will show these aspiring designers how to run their own successful businesses.

Gelvenor Textiles, one of Durban’s biggest success stories in the textile arena, will contribute a substantial financial input to the DFF Mentorship Programme and sponsor the eagerly anticipated May fashion show which, Gelvenor will host at the Sibaya Casino.

The company is a big name in the global specialist  textile arena. This Hammarsdale based manufacturer’s products include apparel fabrics, specialised sport and outdoor fabrics, ballistic and flame retardant textiles, aeronautical textiles, print and coat base cloths, multifilament filtration media and speciality reinforcing grids and scrim industrial fabrics. Its brands are Qantec, Qantec microfiber, Granite, APC, Team Puma and Airotec.

Gelvenor Textiles’ success lies in continual investment in research and technology and in an on-going drive for the production of the highest quality innovative fabrics.

To find out more about the Durban Fashion Fair, log on to, visit official facebook page:  or Twitter

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