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Tuesday, July 12, 2016


(Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award winner Leona Magdelene Pillay (right) celebrates with her model Mahlatse. Pic by Gameplan Media)

Seen as a vital stepping-stone for any career in fashion, the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award and Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge Award came to a dramatic close with DUT Fashion and Textiles students surging to the top spots of both competitions.

Both competitions are presented by the Durban Fashion Fair. The 2016 Vodacom Durban July was staged at Greyville Racecourse on July 2.

DUT student Leona Magdelene Pillay was crowned the winner of the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award while Kimosha Ganas walked away with the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge Award. Sh├ęskia Aprakshya Ramnath, also from DUT, scooped second prize in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award competition.

Designers had to dazzle the judges on the technicality of their outfit, how well they innovatively interpreted the theme and if they succeeded in creating a race-day ensemble that effortlessly portrayed the stylish and sophisticated spirit of the Vodacom Durban July.

It was up to the local fashion connoisseurs, made up of Invited Designers Francois Vedemme and Kathrin Kidger, Sindi Shangase from the Durban Fashion Fair, East Coast Radio presenter and media personality Terence Pillay as well as Fashion Editor of Grazia, Nonkuthalo Thithi, to decide the winning fate of which creations lived up to the tough brief.

“The quality and the concept of each designer's outfit in relation to the Vodacom Durban July fashion theme, Leader of the Pack, set the winners apart, and lastly, how well the garment is constructed", said Shangase.

Trumping scores of other fashion students from around the province, Pillay's royal blue and beige ensemble won her a once-in-a-lifetime accompanied trip to New York Fashion Week.“My design was inspired by the Queen of Spades who is seated right next to the strongest card of the pack, the King of Spades. I believe that behind every successful man is a strong women," she said.

Ganas' futuristic inspired outfit with geometric prints helped her to take home first prize for the Fashion Challenge, beating other aspiring designers and out-of-province students. She was visibly overwhelmed by her win, saying, "I wanted to do something trendy and high fashion and used the diamond shape as my inspiration. I also wanted to incorporate some fun and popping colours”.