For the first time this year, fashion design students from across KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) showcased their artistic and creative interpretations of the official ‘Ride the Wave’ theme for Durban’s premier race day event, the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

The competition kicked off on Tuesday with the opening round of judging for the Hollywoodbets Durban July Young Designer Award, presented by Durban Fashion Fair. Judges faced the challenging task of evaluating nearly 100 entrants, each presenting a race-day ensemble that best embodied the 2024 theme.

“Today was absolutely thrilling. These young designers have pushed the boundaries of fashion, and we are incredibly excited to see who will emerge victorious in the competition,”.

said Vuyisile Ngobese, public relations officer for the Hollywood Foundation and one of the judges

“The ‘Ride the Wave’ theme has inspired creative and stunning designs. Each designer brought their unique interpretation, showcasing a remarkable blend of innovation and artistry. The intricate details, bold colours, and inventive textures we saw today were truly extraordinary. It was a tough decision, but we’ve selected the top 25 semi-finalists who truly captured the spirit of the theme with their exceptional craftsmanship and flawless execution.”

Ngobese continued,

The 25 semi-finalists will showcase their creations once again at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping on 19 June, where the 10 finalists will be announced. These top ten will then present their interpretations at the Hollywoodbets Durban July Fashion Experience Preview Gala at Gateway and again on stage at the Hollywoodbets Durban July on 06 July, where the top three student designers will be announced.

The top three students will receive prizes totaling R70,000 from Gold Circle, Schweppes, and Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Additionally, the Hollywood Foundation will award R100,000 worth of bursaries to the winner, second, and third-placed students. The college attended by the winning student will receive a R30,000 grant from Gold Circle to further develop their young design talent.

The 25 semi-finalists are:

  1. Ntombikayise Khumalo (Lindiwe Khuzwayo Academy of Fashion)
  2. Sphesihle Mathe (DUT)
  3. Liam Nisbet (SG International)
  4. Samukelisiwe Zulu (Esayidi Fashion School)
  5. Fundiswa Bhengu (Esayidi Fashion School)
  6. Relebohile Mongali (DUT)
  7. Ndlozi Sineziwe (PMB School of Fashion)
  8. Nduduzo Zwane (Lindiwe Khuzwayo Academy)
  9. Erin Seymour (Esayidi Fashion School)
  10. Balungile Ndlovu (PMB School of Fashion)
  11. Nontsikelelo Godlo (PMB School of Fashion)
  12. Beryl Sithole (PMB School of Fashion)
  13. Monwabisi Xulu (PMB School of Fashion)
  14. Krishan Ramdewu (PMB School of Fashion)
  15. Lindelwa Maseko (Inscape Education Group)
  16. Tamaryn Price (Esayidi Fashion School)
  17. Olwethu Payi (DUT)
  18. Avuyile Sihlobo (DUT)
  19. Nontuthuko Chagwe (DUT)
  20. Ayanda Zulu (Lindiwe Khuzwayo Academy)
  21. Kisha Williams (Fezile Fashion Skills Academy)
  22. Bongumusa Bhengu (Umgungundlovu TVET)
  23. Simngaye Zuma (Umgungundlovu TVET)
  24. Sanele Mkhize (Umgungundlovu TVET)
  25. Siphesihle Mkhize (Umgungundlovu TVET)

As the competition progresses, the anticipation builds to see which young designer will rise to the top and claim the coveted title, along with the generous prizes and bursaries that will help launch their careers in fashion design.