Award-winning fashion designer, Gert-Johan Coetzee joins 'Project Runway South Africa' as the mentor for the season.
Coetzee will be playing a substantial role in Project Runway SA as the show’s golden key to unlocking greater depths of creativity within each contestant, as they compete for their big break into the fashion industry.
Amidst the inevitable drama and panic that comes with intense challenges, Coetzee will be the calm eye of the storm for the contestants, keeping them on deadline, guiding them on their designs and fabric choices, steering them towards the finishing line, greatness and the ultimate expression of their own voices.
Gert-Johan Coetzee's latest collection in collaboration with McDonalds. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips.
‘I am utterly thrilled and honoured to be part of South Africa’s first version of Project Runway. This means I will be at the forefront, helping to nurture the incredible talent we have in this country.’ says, Coetzee.
For Coetzee, fashion has always been his life. He was already in sewing classes by the age of 6, by the age of 8 he was already creating dresses, and by 19 he was winning awards (SA’s Most Promising Young Designer in 2006). He was just 23 when he launched his own label at SA Fashion Week in 2010.
Today his exquisite couture creations are worn by A- list celebrities on red carpets around the world. Coetzee also designs a chic ready-to-wear range, which is carried in selected boutiques and his online store.
Ndalo Pictures Founder and CEO Khanyi Dhlomo says, ‘Mentorship is not only at the very heart of Project Runway, but at the heart of Ndalo Pictures too, so it was of utmost importance that we found the perfect mentor with all the right nuances.’
Gert-Johan Coetzee shares a blissful moment with Nomzamo Mbatha on the runway at SAFW. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips.
She goes on to say, ‘There’s such an alluring sincerity about Gert. He’s engaging, inspiring, passionate, boldly creative and wise beyond his years. He’s the perfect fit.’
Mentorship is not new to Coetzee. The flourishing designer launched his own bursary programme, which has already been running for 7 years. The Gert-Johan Coetzee Bursary Programme covers students for 3 years and includes personal mentorships by Coetzee himself, as well as internships at his studio.
‘Mentorships are invaluable,’ says Coetzee. ‘The design schools may give you the knowledge and the skills, but the personal attention that comes with internships and Project Runway South Africa gives you the polish. And that’s when the true stars shine.’
'Project Runway SA' is coming to Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161 in July 2018.