Project Runway SA. Picture: Twitter (@ProjectRunwaySA)

Twelve aspiring fashionistas, check. Mentor, check. Resident judges, check. All the ingredients to making the South African format of the popular fashion competition, Project Runway, have been ticked off.

The show is set to air later this year and will follow its true international format, but will be proudly South African in its tone and style.

“In terms of its structure and DNA, it will be proudly South African through the diversity of the designers, the uniqueness of the judges, mentor and host and through the stories we tell. We’ve also put a lot of thought into the challenges, and we have some very exciting and inspiring stuff planned,” said Ed Worster, producer at Rapid Blue.

Rapid Blue is also responsible for recreating much-loved shows like Shark Tank, SA’s Got Talent, Come Dine With Me and Dancing With the Stars.

Worster said while the company tries to please viewers, he knows that sometimes viewers do compare the local formats to the international ones.

Noni Gasa makes TV comeback as 'Project Runway SA' judge

“We know that we can never please all the people all the time, but we’re always open to what viewers have to say. They should give the show a chance to prove that the cast has personality, character and flair that will keep them entertained even more than the international version,” he said.

In the show, fashion design contestants compete with one another to create garments restricted by time, materials and theme. Designs are judged by a panel, and designers are eliminated until the few left standing prepare a complete fashion collection, a Fashion Week, which determines the winner.

The South African format will see some of the best designers in the country come together to mentor and judge the contestants.

Gert Johan Coetzee will take over as mentor, while Noni Gasa and Rahim Rawjee have been selected as the show’s resident judges.

And the grand prize is a trip to Paris Fashion week with the ELLE African collections and additional prizes up to the value of R1million.

Worster said viewers should tune into the show because of its awesome line-up.

“We have Gert Johan, Rahim and Noni, never mind the host who is yet to be revealed! We have 12 engaging designers from all walks of life who are ready to give it their all. And by the end of the show we would have groomed a stellar young designer who is ready to take on Paris Fashion Week,” he said.

As for the judges, Gasa said her love for the fashion industry came by virtue of South Africa’s rich cultural heritage in which designers can draw from both local and international influences to create something uniquely our own.

“There is no such thing as ‘South African fashion’, I think it’s limiting to define us by our context rather than content. Young, emerging designers understand this and are visibly more inspired and fearless in their approach to simply create clothing they like,” she said.

She said fashion brings a visual language to culture.

“I’ll be looking for designers who understand that, through their talent, they have the power to make a compelling statement and to reflect the spirit of the times. Their designs need to have originality, wearability, commercial appeal and uncompromising quality. The most successful brands have crafted a signature aesthetic that’s recognisable and this goes a long way in boosting customer loyalty,” she said.

A_Birjalal

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