Enthusiasm and creativity reached new heights at this year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July Raceday Fashion Experience, presented by Durban Fashion Fair, as participants embraced the ‘Ride the Wave’ theme with unparalleled zeal. Held on Saturday, the event saw a record-breaking number of entries across all categories, showcasing the region’s vibrant fashion scene.

Ntandokazi Mncwabe, hailing from Pietermaritzburg, emerged victorious in the classic racewear female category with a design inspired by the graceful movements of an octopus. Her avant-garde ensemble not only captured imaginations but also secured her a R5,000 prize from Gold Circle and Schweppes, along with a R2,500 Gift Card from Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

In the classic racewear male category, Luvuyo Andiswa Mshengu, a second-year fashion student, impressed judges with his innovative interpretation of the theme. Drawing inspiration from the play of light through ocean waves, he incorporated ethnic prints on wax fabric. His thoughtful addition of a mask underscored his meticulous attention to detail, aiming to enhance the overall visual impact of his attire.

Pietermaritzburg duo Samkelo Makhubalo and Sanele Mthethwa triumphed in the most striking couple category. Samkelo’s design, influenced by characters from ‘The Titanic’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, featured unconventional materials like calico and spray paint, lending a distinct and edgy flair to their ensemble. She ingeniously incorporated a symbolic bottle to evoke nostalgia for an era when messages were sent in unconventional ways.

Lungile Msomi, representing Pinetown, showcased her resourcefulness by winning the Fascinator/Hat category. Using household items like a cake stand and paper plates, she crafted a headpiece that not only impressed but also highlighted her commitment to sustainability through creative recycling.

“This event is a beautiful platform to showcase our talents. Opportunities like these are rare in today’s fashion landscape, with events like the Durban July and Durban Fashion Fair standing out as crucial showcases for aspiring designers.”

Reflecting on her experience, Lungile remarked,

The Hollywoodbets Durban July Raceday Fashion Experience continues to be a beacon of creativity and innovation in South Africa‘s fashion calendar, celebrating not just style but also the diversity and ingenuity of local designers.