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Sunday, June 26, 2016


Six Durban University of Technology Fashion and Textiles students have been shortlisted for the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award finals.

The talented student designers were handpicked from 25 strong entries to proceed to the final round of the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair, a prestigious fashion competition that offers aspiring KwaZulu-Natal fashion students an invaluable opportunity in advancing their fashion career.

Talent abounded on the runway with competition ensembles sewn from a range of innovative ideas that suited the card-inspired Leader of the Pack theme. Models wore outfits boasting diamond cut-outs, geometric prints and stylish accessories.

Audiences were also treated to five stylish collections from the Vodacom Durban July Designer Collection presented by Durban Fashion Fair, g​iving but a taste of what to wear on raceday.

Judged by some of the most respected names in the industry, Zama Mathe, Kathrin Kidger, Sindi Shangase, Hanrie Lues and Gold Circle's Monica Holman, the finalists’ creations showcased a delicate blend of creativity, technical precision and clever interpretation of the raceday theme.

Popular Durban designer and one of this year’s eight Invited Designers, Zama Mathe, felt the students pushed the envelope. “I loved the fact that the students can construct a garment really well, interpret the theme in an indirect way and create a raceday ready outfit that is fashion forward and trendy,” said Mathe.

It was the first time judging the Young Designer Award for Bloemfontein Invited Designer Hanrie Lues, who herself excelled in the national version of the fashion competition, the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge, just a few years back. “I personally loved the designs where I could see the designer’s concept come to life through great execution. The beauty of the construction combined with an innovative idea and good fabric use was what stood out for me.”

DUT Design and Textile lecturer, Meena Bagwandin, said the competition was challenging this year but DUT managed to secure 6 out of 10 in the semi- finals.“Students have done the Fashion Department proud once again. The success was due to students experimenting with various techniques and surface design including Macramé which is a hand-knotting technique, raw wool embroidery, leather cut out to achieve a textile texture and screen printing. Also, having their accessories designed and constructed to enhance their garment,” she said.

The finale will play itself out on the Action Stage at Africa’s greatest horse-racing event on July 2 with the eventual winner walking away with an array of prizes including a trip to New York Fashion Week flying courtesy of Delta Air Lines, R5,000 from both Gold Circle and Schweppes, a Huawei P9 Smartphone from Vodacom and much more. Second and third prize winners will win R3,000 and R2,000 respectively.

The DUT finalists are Shéskia Aprakshya Ramnath, Neshika Nundkwar, Jessie-Gray Thornton, Mariah Bianca Govender, Jessica Shuttleworth and Jamie Lynn Marais.

The 2016 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on July 2.