Durban - Two young designers who have been given retail space at an upmarket showroom in Durban gave fashionistas and the media a taste of their colourful ranges at a mini fashion show this week.

Showing a handful of designs each, up-and-coming designers Kathryn de Jesus, 19, and Kujula Mtambo, 25, showcased the talent they hope will attract buyers and browsers to their rails at designer Haroun Hansrot’s showroom at 75 Matthews Meyiwa (Stamford Hill) Road, Durban. Their labels, Kattwalk and Gravitie, will appear in the designer’s showroom for six months as part of the KZN Fashion Council’s retail programme that encourages the business side of fashion.

De Jesus is a newcomer whom Shavera Sayed, the acting programme director of the KZNFC, describes as “sheer talent”.

A BComm student at Varsity College, she also has her eye on a career in fashion. Her designs are a breezy and colourful mix of beachwear, cocktail wear and clubwear.

“Women should feel feminine and sexy, as well as cool and comfortable, and that is what we aim for,” said de Jesus, who works with her business partner and mentor, Tracy Eagles.

Eagles has a range for the fuller figure and that, plus De Jesus’s designs, are on show by appointment at their Kattwalk boutique in eManzimtoti.

Mtambo said he believed the space in Hansrot’s showroom would be a boost for his vibrant menswear label, which appeared at SA Fashion Week last year.

He also completed a two-month internship in Milan in 2011, where he says he learnt valuable lessons in design.

Sayed said the showroom space had been secured through a tender process. Designers paid 20 percent of the cost of the rail space, with the KZNFC paying the balance.

The KZNFC is a non-profit organisation that supports the fashion design sector. It was founded and is funded by the KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism and eThekwini’s Economic Development and Investment Promotions Unit. It supports several designers in mentorship, learning and networking and market access. - Lindsay Ord, Daily News

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