Miss Universe South Africa 2020 Natasha Joubert has announced the 12 design labels chosen to take part in her upcoming #DestinyDesigned virtual fashion show this month aimed at empowering and showcasing local fashion designers and two of them come from KZN.
Lungelo Nobuhle Biyela from Eel Een Designs and Treasure Cindi are both based in Durban.
Joubert, who will be representing South Africa at the Miss Universe pageant on May 16 in the US, from 2 am to 5 am on May 17 SA time, will also reveal her Miss Universe national costume and one of her gowns during the not-to-be-missed event.
#DestinyDesigned is Joubert’s Miss Universe social cause initiative and is close to her heart as she is a fashion designer who started her own company Natalia Jefferys in 2016.
Biyela, the proud owner of Eel Een Designs, is a self-taught fashion designer who comes from eNkandla in Mvutshini but is now based in Durban.
She has always loved fashion design but studied for a BA Environmental Planning and Development which surprisingly taught her a little bit about how the textile industry affects the environment.
“In all my designs I try to ensure that I use fabric in a sustainable way so that I don't create a huge footprint on the environment. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on my business. Before the pandemic I used to make dresses and skirts because that's what I knew how to make at that time.
“The pandemic forced me to evolve and transform my business. I realised that people were no longer going to events because of the national regulations imposed. I then started a luxury sleep wear range which got a very warm welcome and to this day it's my best seller.
“I have not stopped learning about business and fashion. The pandemic had negative impacts on other aspects of my business but since I'm at a learning curve I have embraced the change and evolved with it.”
She said being named as one of the Top 12 designers is a dream come true for her and an assurance that the world sees her talent, growth and consistency in producing quality work.
‘Happy cannot begin to describe how I feel right now. I am a self-taught designer who is always learning about the fashion industry,” said Biyela.
South Africa’s diverse cultures inspire popular Durban born designer, Treasure Cindi. Although his design aesthetic reflects both past and present, his creations are aimed at contemporary society.
The Treasure Cindi brand has become a favourite in social circles and amongst brides-to-be, making him one of Durban’s promising bridal wear designers.
“In March 2020 we closed our doors temporarily following the national lockdown. Most of the scheduled weddings and special events for the year were postponed and a lot were cancelled. This proved to be a challenge to keep leasing the premises where we were operating from as there was no money coming in. But the biggest challenge was having to let go of the team of five employees because of lack of funds.
“Currently I am trying to get the brand to be operational and I am working on a ready-to-wear collection that will be sold online. The collection will be an affordable array of garments aimed at the modern South African woman who wants to look good both at work and when out socially but won’t dent her pocket.”
Cindi said he was excited to be selected as one of the #DestinyDesigned designers and he can’t wait to show South Africa his craft and to work with the Miss South Africa Organisation.
The 12 designers, who come from around the country, will each make two garments and have them modelled by reigning Miss South Africa Shudufhadzo Musida, Miss Supranational South Africa 2020 Thato Mosehle and the Miss SA 2020 finalists.
The virtual fundraiser fashion show takes place on misssa.live on Saturday, April 10, at 11 am and viewers will be able to subscribe to the platform and watch for free. They will also have the option to donate to the campaign with overall profits going to the 12 designers. After the show, the designers’ garments will be auctioned off online with the proceeds from each item sold going to the respective designers.
Subscriptions to watch the #DestinyDesigned virtual fashion show for free are currently open and close at midnight on April 9. Go to https://misssa.live