A new emerging designer’s work will shortly be added to our closets, thanks to the prominent South African fashion and media personality Noni Gasa, who is making sure that this aspiring designer’s dreams are fulfilled.
After an extensive search and shifting through trend storyboards and hand-drawn sketches, Gasa and her team at the Design Academy of Fashion in Cape Town selected Amanda Trom as a worthy recipient of The Noni Gasa Bursary, which offers her the chance to pursue a three-year diploma in fashion from next year.
“I was superexcited and I struggled to believe it,” Trom said about receiving the news that she had been chosen for the bursary, which includes her full tuition fees and her living expenses for three years, to the value of R460 000.
“It’s been more than a month of thinking about the bursary, working towards it and envisioning what everything would be like. So, it really took me a minute to process that everything was over and I had actually won. I actually won.”
The Design Academy of Fashion, which is co-owned by Gasa, recently made history as the only southern African school to be selected for the prestigious Gucci Fellowship, a cluster of 12 global institutions that are now official feeder schools to Gucci, the world’s most iconic fashion house that was founded in 1921 by the Italian designer, Guccio Gucci.
Every year, on an ongoing basis, one third-year graduate from the Design Academy of Fashion will be given the opportunity to intern for a period of 12 months at Palazzo Alberini in Rome, the design headquarters for Gucci.
Cape Town-based Design Academy of Fashion joins the likes of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology – the world’s number one ranked fashion school – and other esteemed colleges from Dubai, Paris, Accra, Nigeria, Nairobi, Singapore, New Delhi, China and South Korea.
Trom, who dropped out of medical school to pursue fashion design, says her passion for fashion stems from observing the women in her family.
“I watched them embody some other kind of spirit when they were dressed up. They walked differently and talked differently. The clothes they wore literally draped them in confidence. So, from a young age, I always knew the power that garments possessed and I wanted the ability to give women the platform to go about life confidently and unapologetically.”
So why would a straight-A student want to switch to fashion design rather than to complete medicine?
“I’ve always known that I was a creative but the world tends to feed children the idea that safe job options are the best and I fell into that trap. Being in a field where I couldn’t allow myself to dream, create or imagine really took a lot out of me mentally and emotionally. I was not fulfilled and I could see that I was forcing myself to do something that was clearly taking its toll on my body and mind.
“At that point I decided that I wanted to happy, fulfilled and live my purpose. I really don’t consider it a switch but more me giving myself a chance to be myself.”