Exposure for local designs

2014-04-02 00:00

FIVE KwaZulu-Natal fashion designers will be flying the flag for local design at this year’s South African Fashion Week Summer Collection ramp show and buyers’ lounge in Johannesburg.

Larisa Terblanche, Casey Jeanne Walters, Thembeka Vilakazi, Claire Mackenzie and Sifiso Sabelo will be showing their collections in the Lufthansa 1st Best Collection Show at 7 pm on Friday, April 4 at the Crowne Plaza in Rosebank.

Terblanche, who lives in Umhlanga but was born in Russia, said it was her second Fashion Week outing, having shown her designs at the Autumn/Winter show last year.

“I’ve drawn my inspiration from the cherry blossom,” she said. “My designs are very soft and I’ve used origami techniques to fold and manipulate the fabrics … chiffon, silk, velvet.

“Everything looks very flowy and is categorised by lots of layering.”

The 1920s provided the inspiration for Mackenzie’s designs. “There are also influences of watercolours and printing,” she said of her work. “I’ve been looking back at the older ways of doing things so there is a lot of attention to detail.”

A graduate of the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion, She has worked for designer Terrence Bray for four years.

Asked how she felt to be attending her first Fashion Week, Mackenzie, a former Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School pupil, said, “It’s fantastic. Fashion Week is the highest you can go in South Africa in terms of showing your work.”

Vilakazi, who is originally from Estcourt, but now calls Durban home, studied at the Lindiwe Khuzwayo Academy of Fashion, graduating in 2005.

She says her work — which was a hobby for eight years before she decided to make it a full-time occupation — is inspired by African cultures and music.

“It’s the second time that I will be going to Fashion Week, so I’m stressed, but excited,” Vilakazi said. “I’m really serious about the business of fashion and so far it’s going well. I’ve been selected to supply X — the SA Fashion Week Designer Capsule at Edgars in Sandton.”

Sabelo, a graduate of the Linier Academy, said his collection for Fashion Week was inspired by the Japanese cherry blossom and was aimed at high-end ladies.

“I love to embellish my clothing … Detail is everything,” the Musgrave-based designer said. “The outfits might be simple, but every detail is important.

“I did my own prints on the fabric and a lot of embroidery has gone into the outfits.”

All five designers have previously completed the KwaZulu-Natal Fashion Council’s (KZNFC) 21 Steps to Retail programme.

The programme is now available in Pietermaritzburg and aims to equip designers to manage sustainable businesses, thereby contributing to job creation in the province.

Fifteen emerging designers, from uMgungundlovu and surrounding areas, will be taking part in the programme that will provide technical skills training, business skills training and mentoring to design a 12-outfit collection, which will be showcased at the KZNFC Fashion Show

The KZNFC was established in 2009 as a not-for-profit company, in response to the need to support the fashion design sector, through a strategic partnership between the KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism (KZNDEDT) and the eThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development Unit.

Workshops will start in April and will take place at the Project Gateway Fashion School (The Old Prison) on Burger Street.

To contact the KZNFC, which is based at 102 Lilian Ngoyi (Windermere) Road, Durban, phone 031 825 8569 or log onto www.kznfc.co.za.

• arts@witness.co.za

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