SA designer wins competition and jets off to Paris

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Glorinah Khutso Mabaso has won the Trenery  competition.
Glorinah Khutso Mabaso has won the Trenery competition.
Glorinah Khutso Mabaso / supplied

She can't wait to see Paris. The fashion, the architecture, the people. 

Her dream is about to come true, after Glorinah Khutso Mabaso won a design competition. 

She came first in the Trenery 2020 Print Competition.

Glorinah was born in Limpopo and drew her inspiration for what she calls the “Rain Maker” print from her birth town.

Her winning print was inspired by the first Rain Queen, Maselekwane Modjadji, of the Balobedu people from Limpopo.

“I have always loved history and ancient civilizations. As the only female ruler in the region from 1800-1854, Maselekwane Modjadji was a respected leader in an era when women were not given leadership positions in society. They have now been recognized as the only Queendom in the county. Putting them on the same level as Kings. Trenery gave me an incredible platform to represent and visually re-awaken the heritage of these people,” she says.

“As a child my mom would always bring us colouring books, crayons and Koki pens so I grew up in colour,” the designer says.

She always thought she would be an accountant. “In high school I had to change schools and the principal at the new school said they would only accept me if I took design as a subject.”

She loved it so much that she decided to study interior designing after school.

Entering the competition was a frightening decision but as a business owner, she decided she needs to knock on all doors and grab every opportunity.

Glorinah’s design used a combination of repetitive lines and circles to reflect raindrops running down a glass window.

Read more | South Africans react to Rich Mnisi’s R60K Xibelani skirt | Drum (

“My motivation behind this print was putting African heritage on a global map. I wanted to create a dialogue around Africa but in a different context. It was to talk about African heritage, story, culture using a different medium." 

She wanted African heritage to be included in luxury spaces.

Glorinah's fabric design will feature internationally in Trenery’s February 2021 collection, and she will also travel to France to attend a two-week design course at the Paris College of Art. She will also work closely with the Australian team to learn the step-by-step process involved in transitioning her designs into screen or digitally printed fabric, and finally into pieces for the Autumn/Winter 2021 collection.

“I’m looking forward to interacting with creatives from around the world and building a network and connections with other creatives,” she says. 

She's excited about seeing the fashion and all the architecture in Paris.

“I learnt about French design history so seeing the architecture with my own eyes would be so amazing,” Glorinah says.

“The competition already opened doors for me as I have fashion designers knocking on my door. This has unlocked a new niche for me and exposed for to a different platform of design that I’ll now be exploring.

“Going into the fashion industry is a new journey for me because I mainly used to design print for interior spaces. I’m excited to explore that path because I love fashion. Being able to incorporate it into what I do is a dream come true.

Read more: 4 local fashion designers that are making waves on the global stage | Drum (

“I definitely would love to focus on textile design within the fashion industry and interior design space. I think I have found my calling,” she tells Drum.

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