Durban28112012. fashion winners from leftPhumelelen Mdlesshe sandile Nlambo andKarla Lardon

Ten Durban fashion designers will be jetting off to Milan for a two-month-long international internship.

The interns are sponsored by the eThekwini Municipality’s business support, tourism and market unit; and Milan-based SAE Comunicazione Integrata, an agency that specialises in providing training within the fashion and design industry.

They will be spending time at fashion houses and attending workshops on running sustainable businesses.

The interns include Sandile Mlambo, 31, of the House of Alfalfa fashion, which specialises in haute couture for men and women.

Mlambo said he could not wait to learn more about creating his own fabrics.

“The South African fashion industry uses fabrics that have been imported. But for our industry to grow, we need to be able to produce our own fabrics, that’s where my interest lies,” he said.

Joining Mlambo on the trip will be Karla Lortan, 32, of Sydenham, who said the internship was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I cannot wait to be in Milan,” she said.

Lortan, a designer for 10 years, said she drew her inspiration from the Paris-based House of Chanel label.

The other designers are Phumelele Mdletshe, Londeka Masinga, Jamal Nxedlana, Mandy van Tonder, Shawn Majola, Treaure Sindi, Mxolisi Mkhize and Nompumelelo Nkomo.

Sindi Shangase, project manager of the internship at the municipality, said it was intended to expose local designers to skills to help them ensure the sustainability of their businesses.

This is the second group that the unit is sending to Italy. Last year, six local designers were sent.

Shangase said her unit was impressed with the feedback from last year’s participants and decided to expand the project. The interns will jet off on January 5.

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