Durban - An airport is an unlikely venue for a fashion show and not many designers can pull it off, but David Tlale did.
Held at Virginia Airport, the recent David Tlale Fashion Extravaganza saw fashion lovers from across the country attend the show. With a runway, stunning designs, helicopters and private jets in a hangar, Tlale pushed the envelope yet again. And what better way to do it than with dramatic settings?
Tlale’s theme was red and brown, featuring red laced tops and brown shirts that could be grabbed off the runway and worn on the red carpet.
Hosted in conjunction with KZN Tourism, the show had KZN designers from Madelain Clark to McCarthy Wolf showcasing their latest collections.
Many designers kept with summer’s trend of bright colours, prints and monochrome. Other designers included Narainsamy, who showed a colourful range of men’s suits and Duke Mngadi.
Ruth Rankin of Ruth Somaai Designs showed her collection of cocktail dresses with inspiring pastel colours and handmade leather detail.
Nguni Shades’ men’s line showcased the latest trend of oversized man bags, moving away from the traditional sling bag.
In honour of Nelson Mandela, the national anthem was sung and later models walked the runway with candles lit for the former president.
Idols winner, Khaya Mthethwa, entertained guests as well as contemporary dancers and traditional Zulu dancers.
Durban duo cut above the rest for David Tlale
Designer David Tlale, was in Durban last week scouting for two new fashion design interns who will work with him at his studio in Johannesburg and accompany him to New York Fashion Week in February.
The internship programme, which is now in its second year, aims at giving up-and-coming KwaZulu-Natal designers the opportunity to be mentored by Tlale and to experience the industry in its international scope.
The two who cracked the nod are Ayanda Mthembu, a DUT graduate from Verulam, and Nokwanda Ngcobo of uMlazi.
Up for the test
Mthembu, 21, said he was excited about working with his role model.
“I love David Tlale’s work, so I am really looking forward to working with him,” he said. “It is going to be hard work, but I am very excited. I am doing what I love.”
Ngcobo, who graduated in 1999, said her praying had paid off.
“I won’t tell you my age, but I was one of the older ones in the group, so I really prayed hard and gave it my all – now I have been given this wonderful chance.”
Tlale said there was a lot of untapped talent in Durban.
“Many designers are too scared to branch out of Durban and target other markets.
“The only way to make it big is to branch out and take risks.”
Hopefuls had to submit a portfolio of their work, attend workshops with the designer and sit through intense interviews with Tlale and his team.
“I am looking for confident individuals,people that can adapt to different environments – because the industry in Joburg is very different from Durban’s – and for someone with potential and talent that can be nurtured,” said Tlale.
He also said that New York Fashion Week should not be the only thing that young designers aimed for.
“Showcasing at international fashion weeks is amazing, but creating and keeping your brand and client-base is important.”
Tlale also celebrated being in the industry for 10 years: “It is very exciting. I am so grateful to God for blessing me and I am thankful to the amazing team I have.”
He also said that after 10 years, a brand such as David Tlale Couture needed to reinvent itself.
“It feels like I am back where I started in 2003, which is a great feeling.
“It is like looking at a new challenge, looking to the future and going international with my brand.”
On brand building, Tlale said that consistency was the key.
“Many people say they have a brand, yet they have only one collection a year, there is no consistency. It takes time and patience to build your brand. You have to have a passion for your work, and simple things like a business card and a website make a difference.”
Ruth Rankin, one of Tlale’s first interns, said that working side by side with Tlale was “an eye opener”.
“I never planned to apply for the internship, I just wanted to attend the workshops he was hosting, but then I ended up moving to Johannesburg for the year and having a really amazing time.
“It was very demanding and David really pushes you to do your best, but I cannot wait to use the knowledge I have gained,” she added.
Rankin graduated from DUT’s fashion school and has her own fashion line called Ruth Somaai Designs.
Tlale was also preparing for a fashion show, and watching the mastermind at work proved that hard work certainly pays off.
His attention to detail and interaction with his staff is inspiring to everyone around him.
He was very apologetic of the numerous calls he received throughout our interview.
Always busy, he is working on his new collection for New York Fashion Week next year. - Liam Joyce, Daily News