Matat-born fashion designer dreams big

2018-02-23 06:00
PHOTO: suppliedFashion designer Martin John Steenkamp.

PHOTO: suppliedFashion designer Martin John Steenkamp.

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FASHION designer Martin John Steenkamp (26) believes that through hard work and dedication, his dream of opening a retail outlet and supplying boutiques is going to be realised in the next few years.

Growing up in a farming area 15 km outside Matatiele did not stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a fashion designer. He now works for a manufacturing company as a fashion designer in Durban and during his spare time he promotes his personal menswear brand, John Martin.

“I grew up in a place where I had to travel a long distance to fetch water and there was no electricity. After I completed my matric in 2007, I didn’t pursue a tertiary education because my father, who was meant to fund my education, lost his job,” said Steenkamp.

He told Fever that although he was upset that his father lost his job, he did not fold his arms but instead sought work at a supermarket and saved money to follow his career in fashion design.

After saving for almost seven years, he registered for a course in fashion design at the School of Fashion Design in Pietermaritzburg in 2015 and graduated in 2016.

“The MRP Foundation, which helps young people to break the cycle of poverty, visited the design school while I was a student and I joined its programme in 2016. Through the programme I learnt pattern-making, designing, costing and merchandising skills.”

In September last year, Steenkamp was rewarded with a trip to Europe by the foundation for being a top student. He learnt many things in Europe, including how international markets operate.

Last year, he won the Fashion Innovator Award at the Durban Fashion Fair and was interviewed on the SABC 3 show Top Billing.

“The Durban Fashion Fair gave me an opportunity to share the platform with established designers in the local and global fashion industry. I am looking forward to promoting my brand and supplying boutiques and retailers across Africa,” said Steenkamp.

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