Friday 29 July 2016

DFF Mentors Young Designer Hopefuls

The Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) Mentorship Programme is gathering momentum as 21 young designers (from around the eThekwini Municipality) strive to learn all they can about the world of fashion. 

The DFF is a proudly eThekwini Municipality initiative developed to grow the fashion industry in the city and to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Scores of young designers put their names forward in November last year and 21 were chosen to take part in the programme. This includes working closely with some of the city’s top fashion gurus as well as their fellow designers.

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), garment construction as well as business acumen (a traceable client base, business plan and business skills).

All the interns from this year will also see their work on the ramp at the Durban Fashion Fair later this year as well as some of them will be showcasing for the first time to the city’s fashionistas as well as buyers, suppliers and industry leaders and media all under one roof. According to Sindi Shangase, the Programme Manager for the Business Support Tourism and Markets Unit 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.

Programme mentors are G & D Apparel’s, Greg Wallis and respected Durban based designer, Terrence Bray. Bray will assist with orientation, choice of textiles, collection design and styling amongst other clothing related matters. Wallis will not only guide interns on orientation and textile selection but provide valuable information on manufacturing, brand management, costing and entering the world of retail. Guest lecturers from the industry will be invited to take turns in assisting in the development of these mentees.

The current interns are provided with different design briefs and assignments each week. 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. Additional modules will show these aspiring designers how to run their own successful businesses. When the programme concludes, one of these intern designers will receive a recognition award during the Durban Fashion Fair Awards on Saturday, September 3rd at the Inkosi Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

Over and above the mentorship programme, Woolworths South Africa have also come on board as a sponsor and will be providing the mentees with an additional challenge to form part of their curriculum. Winners of this particular challenge will be announced on Saturday, September 3rd at the Durban Fashion Fair Recognition Awards event.

The DFF will include 16 shows that will take place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from Wednesday, August 31st to Friday, September 2nd.

Tickets will be on sale at Computicket from Monday, August 1st. Prices range from R100 per person per show with students at R50 per student per show. Prices for the Awards show will cost R200 per person and students R100 per person.

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