Celebrating 50 years of design

Some of the designs by student, Martin Steenkamp - his theme being ‘Creative Elevation’.  PHOTO: supplied
Some of the designs by student, Martin Steenkamp - his theme being ‘Creative Elevation’. PHOTO: supplied

CELEBRATING its 50th anniversary, Pietermaritzburg’s School of Fashion Design will be hosting a show at the city hall on 28 November where style and creativity merge, featuring collections of the first- and second-year graduates.

The highlights on the runway include eco-chic designs, evening wear, haute couture and unique contemporary designs in an evening of unforgettable fashion, style and entertainment.

Priscilla Bhika founded the school in 1965 and has since played an important role for five decades in educating men and women in various arts with her main focus being on dressmaking and fashion designing.

Bhika’s school, which started in a rented classroom with one student, was the only multiracial training school in the province. She was determined to impart her knowledge and knew that women would be able to make a living if they could just utilise their inherent artistic abilities and either stitch or design clothing.

As word spread, the school expanded. She started teaching additional courses that one could also earn a living from, including curtain making, flower arranging, icing and cake decorating, catering, serviette craft. Many students moved on to open their own businesses thereafter.

School of Fashion Design is now a fully fledged college and, since its inception, countless people have been trained and equipped for careers in various fields.

Bhika has invented 54 different ways to drape a sari. Her designs incorporate international influences and, in doing so, has introduced the sari to other cultures as well.

Bhika received an award among the international and national dignitaries at the India Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Education and Culture. She received the 2001 National Arties award in honour of a person who has worked tirelessly to promote culture and education in South Africa.
She took part in SA Fashion Week and in 2012 was invited to the Miss India Worldwide Pageant in Suriname as the official designer for the pageant. In 2013, she was an official mentor for SA Fashion Week.

For more information about the fashion show or to buy tickets, contact the school at 033 345 4671 or email sofdesign@3i.co.za
- Supplied.

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