From an initial entry of 143 completed outfits for the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair a panel of judges at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping on Friday evening shortlisted ten finalists in the prestigious student designer competition.
True to form, the evening was a rollicking evening of cutting-edge fashion, lateral creative thought and lively support for each of the students as the judges agonised over the tough task of reducing the twenty five semi-finalists to ten finalists.
In the end four student designers from the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion Design won through to the final ten, together with three from the Durban University of Technology and three from the Lindiwe Khuzwayo Academy of Fashion Design.
For the crowd that enjoyed the landmark fashion event, the runway provided excellent insight into ways to interpret the theme “Stars of Africa”, with students using ideas, shapes and silhouettes rooted in traditional African culture and then steering these concepts into contemporary and often futuristic outfits.
The panel of judges, which included Durban design stalwart Greg Wallace, Sindi Shangase of the Durban Fashion Fair and Invited Designer Kathrin Kidger, enthused over the depth of interpretaion of the theme and the high level of construction of the often challenging designs.
“We have never ever seen the level of excellence in the interpretation of the theme,” said programme director Tiffany Prior.
“There were beautiful elements of colourful beadwork, handcrafted detailing, self-designed and printed fabrics – it was exceptional,” she added.
Menswear has made a bold statement at the competition this year, and three of the finalists are bold traditionally-inspired men’s outfits.
Tribal sandals have been a popular accessory trend, as were traditional hats and headwear.
The finalists in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair:
Nosipho Ngcobo, Noxolo Ngabane, Nonjabulo Mfuphi, Mthobisi Hlongwane (all Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion Design), Tanyaradzwa Tirivanhu, Wandile Mbhele, Siphiwo Buthelezi (all Durban University of Technology), Makhosazane Ntshangase, Bongekile Funeka, Thobile Dlamini (all Lindiwe Khuzwayo Academy of Fashion Design).
The Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 6 July 2019.
More information can be found at www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za