Durban designer Sawleha Hansa, second right, will be returning to Greyville after a six-year gap to try her luck in all eight fashion competitions. Some of her models are, from left: Geeza Peterson of D & C Dance Company, her friend Tasleem Vally, and Nikki Pavlakis, also of the D & C Dance Company. Picture: Shirin Motala

Dress designer Sawleha Hansa, 25, might travel the world studying fashion trends, but she has missed the thrill and the atmosphere of entering competitions.

But on Saturday she will be back at the Vodacom Durban July once again showing off her designs in all eight competitions after a gap of six years.

Hansa launched herself at the big race in 2004, while still studying fashion design, then won awards in the various fashion categories in the following two years before, in 2007, she focused on the MTN Fashion Week, where she launched her brand Vice Versa.

“But now I am back to re-launch myself,” she said on Wednesday.

“I have missed competing and missed the atmosphere and ambience.”

During her gap, she got married, studied hairdressing and make-up and joined the corporate world to learn the tricks of the trade.

Her job as a corporate fashion buyer and merchandiser with a national Durban-based company, involves jetting to the fashion capitals of the world, including London and Paris, to study the overseas trends for SA retailers.

“I’ve been there five years and love it, but I have missed creating and seeing people wearing my work,” said Hansa, whose favourite fashion icon is Vivienne Westwood.

Having decided to make a comeback on Saturday, she took inspiration from the “A Material World” theme and says that her range is a collaboration of many reusable textures, such as newspapers – including the Daily News – magazines and a range of fabrics, while her colours remain natural and earthy with a splash of floral.

She is nervous, but also excited about Saturday, and will be up at 6am to do her models’ hair and make-up.

Hansa is particularly thrilled that one of her models will be her good friend Tasleem Vally, a Survivor SA 2010 contestant.