Fashion designer, David Tlale. Picture: Phando Jikelo
With more than a decade dominating the South African fashion industry and international recognition, fashion designer David Tlale has no competition. Renowned for his bold designs and unashamedly theatrical runway shows like the 2011 when he created one of the largest PR stirs in South African fashion when he showcased his work on the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge in, Johannesburg.

Being an advocate of giving back to where he started, his project named “The Intern”, which is on its fourth year run this year, where he takes upcoming designers under his wing for a year. Tlale said “The aim is to promote design industry fashion in South Africa and impart skill and knowledge in junior designers and to and pave a bridging gap between college fashion and the industry”

I sat down with Tlale and had a chat with him about his latest reality show, “The Intern” which is due to air on SABC 3 in July 2017, National auditions are currently underway. Twelve contestants will vie for the title of Assistant Designer for the house of David Tlale
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The show in which he has partnered with Fp&M Seta to find the next best fashion designer and He reiterated that “It’s truly about up scaling designers who have the potential and talent to become the next best designers in Africa. Expose the designers in a national platform, like the fashion weeks and potentially international platform as well”

The search for the designer is open to all who are living in South Africa with a degree or diploma in Fashion Design, the contestants must be able to be sketch, make patterns and sit on the machine and finish a garment.
“Unfinished hemlines and bad fits are what inspired David Tlale to start the Internship and also for designers who leave college to be able to upscale their products to be able to compete on an international accepted market.”

Why you feel it’s important for South African fashion to move beyond our borders?
“Its very important for design industry to start visualising the industry as a global brand because if we are still stuck in small town industry we not going to grow, we not going to ground the brand South Africa. We need to start realising that South Africa is not just the tiny place at the bottom of Africa, we have so many international people coming in our country and they are amazed by the beauty and talent we have here. They are looking at beautiful artefacts and clothing pieces that they can take with them and we want to make sure we are able to serve this market”

Being very patriotic about the proudly South Africa brand Tlale believes the only way the South African design industry to reach global expansion is when our local designer stop being scared of being patriotic and making sure that the products we produce do service global market.
In Cape Town Tlale teamed up with the designers, Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriël Du Toit who are the creative force behind KLûK CGDT brand as judging panel for the hopefuls and is yet to announce other judges in the other provinces. He will continue to Durban, Greyville Racecourse then Polokwane, and Johannesburg.