Gert-Johan Coetzee is one of the mentors for Edcon 21 steps coaching programme.
South Africa’s styling set is voting with their wallets for the fresh fashion on offer from young local designers mentored in a dynamic collaboration between the Edcon Group and experts drawn together by industry doyenne, Lucilla Booyzen.

Since going live at 10 stores country-wide in the first week of December 2017, the Edgars Design Edit capsule featuring signature collections by eight young designers that completed Booyzen’s 21 Steps Coaching Programme, have, in some cases, achieved sell-through rates of 50 to 60 percent within six weeks. In doing so, they have outperform the stores traditional brands as well as offerings from established icons such as David Tlale.

Getting coaching. Picture: Supplied. 

“The star performer of the group is Hlengiwe Gavu, whose feminine, pretty signature under her Redemption label, has both introduced a very different product to the store’s usual mix and is perceived by customers as offering real value for money”, says Sandy Rodgers, former Edgars general manager of Design and Trend. 

The 21 Steps programme is an intensive, three-month immersion into all aspects of fashion design from creative inception and technical craft development to final garment production. It is offered by a group of fashion industry experts that combine top guest lecturers such as Jacques van der Watt and Gert-Johan Coetzee with a core team of permanent tutors, all hand-picked by Booyzen for their respective experience and unique skill sets. 

It is a key component of a year-long internship for qualifying graduate designers that the Edcon Group has initiated as part of its transformation strategy aimed at developing a body of retail-savvy suppliers.

Young designer with some of her work. Picture: Supplied. 

According to Booyzen, the truly distinguishing success feature of the 21 Steps programme, is that the young designers are given the real inside track “secret to success” from a body of seasoned stalwarts.

“Our vision is to find, and then truly, nurture, the design talent that will redefine the local fashion industry into the future,” she says.