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Nurturing young talent for greatness

Omeshnie Naidoo chatted to acclaimed South African fashion designer Gideon, head of creative design of the highly anticipated DUT Annual Fashion Show

All eyes are on the DUT annual showcase. This is a small class of students, how has it managed to gain such prominence?

The school has an incredible history, having produced some of the biggest names in SA design.

It is not only a Durban benchmark, but a South African powerhouse for emerging designers.

Our surprise panel of elite judges is reflective of the high standard of industry experts we continue to produce.

The classes are small but focused.

You’ve dressed some of the most glamorous women in South Africa, such as former Miss World Penny Coelen Rey, and showcased at numerous fashion platforms. What has it been like working with students?

It has been so rewarding. These are enquiring, hungry minds.

I feel humbled because they have been so appreciative and allowed me to really share my experience and skill. I’m in awe of the talent around me. They’re aiming to be original and this is why student platforms are so imperative as they ensure we put forward fresh, new ways of seeing things.

Please elaborate on the theme?

“After Earth” is open-ended. Each student has been encouraged to arrive at their own notion and share their vision of the next plane of human existence.

What have some of the students done with the theme to impress you?

The clothes are artisanal, handcrafted masterpieces. Many of the students made their own textiles. They have really pushed the limits of what is available to them and what they are able to do with it.

They had small budgets but their creativity has been limitless.

What are some of this year’s collaborations?

Mr Price sponsored all the accessories this year, which has really helped the students get complete ensembles.

Minty’s Fabrics also joined us this year as a sponsor.

Where to next for your students?

Some may study further but many will enter the fashion industry. There is a misconception that if you study fashion all you can be is a fashion designer, there are numerous avenues.

Within the industries there are jobs in textiles, pattern making, buying, etc. These kids are creatives and will be able to work in the broader design and digital world. Others will venture out on their own, to establish labels and build a reputation.

Are there any surprises at the show that we can look forward to?

In our exhibition space we have performers from Roots and Wings with conceptual make-up by talented Camilla Kerr of The Durban Make-up Artist. They will help bring to life the students textile projects. We also have an exhibition by fellow lecturer Nirma Madhoo-Chipps comprising new world digital arts that are also pushing the boundaries of fashion.

And what can we expect from Gideon in the future?

Well as soon as the show is over we sit down to discuss next year’s syllabus and projects. We aim for a symbiotic process and want to build on each year. My personal goal is get more of the fashion high rollers involved to ensure a brighter future for our young talents in Durban. If we don’t take care of each other, no one else is going to step in to do that. We’re a dedicated team and want to raise the bar each year.

DRESSED FOR AFTER EARTH

The Fashion and Textiles Department at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) will hold its annual Fashion Show from tomorrow to Friday at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus.

The 35 third-year Pattern and Garment Technology students worked with the theme: After Earth.

“Students were asked to explore their own vision of our next world for this year’s show. With this broad theme, they had to look at what their beliefs in fashion are, and what they wish to portray to the outside world.

“‘After Earth’ will embody a vision of the unknown future,” says Sunthra Moodley, DUT Fashion and Textiles Head of Department.

Prizes will be awarded to the best designers in the categories of Most Innovative Range, Best Range on Show, Most Commercial Range, Best Menswear Range and Best Technical Student.

Lecturer, Meena Bagwandin, said the class of 2016 had extended themselves by incorporating fabric printing and fabric manipulation techniques, such as wet felting, tufting, beading and macramé, to enhance their designs.

She said, “The show affords them a platform to expose their current talent by meeting and fulfilling the theme of the show, with a strong focus on quality.”

Tickets for the show are R50 for Wednesday and Thursday, and R60 for Friday and will be available at Computicket and at the door.

Photography: Keith Kenneth

Direction: Nirma Madhoo-Chipps

Models: Cassandra Ndlovu, Kristina Louw, Vladina Petrova and Thando Duma of Ice Model Management Durban

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