AWAKENING: Ole Ledimo and Nthato Mashishi will be looking out for the most promising young fashion designers in the new reality TV show Raw Silk.
AWAKENING: Ole Ledimo and Nthato Mashishi will be looking out for the most promising young fashion designers in the new reality TV show Raw Silk.

A LUXURIOUS and expensive fabric is the inspiration behind the new fashion search talent show set to air on SABC1 on Tuesday.

The production, Raw Silk, gives young designers a chance to launch their fashion design careers, and is hosted by TV and radio personality Pearl Modiadie.

The show is the brainchild of Ole Ledimo, founder of South African fashion label House of Ole, who will be joined on the judging panel by make-up artist Nthato Mashishi and designer Yasmin Furmie.

Raw Silk will be the first talent show in South Africa that seeks to inspire others to take pride in local designers.

“Most of the designers internationally zoom into the continent for trends. So if we can have that awakening in South Africa, if not the continent, then we do have what it takes and we can go a long way,’’ Ledima says.

The show proves there is progress in the industry, and doors are opening in the fashion industry, he adds.

“It’s a platform that offers an opportunity to give a glimpse of fashion designing in South Africa.’’

The name of the show speaks of the raw talent that is not tapped and groomed for different reasons, he says.

“Some of these kids are coming from a background where parents cannot afford to take them to school, but they are very talented designers.

“We didn’t only take designers from schools, we took them from underprivileged communities, and black designers.

“We were very intentional about that.

“They are raw coming into the show and we are hoping that they will be a polished, ready to wear silk, after the show.”

The shows comprises 13 episodes with an elimination in each episode until there is only one designer left standing.

“Each episode is divided into three: location of inspiration, take the inspiration and make a garment, present it and go home. There are cameras everywhere, it’s reality,” says Mashishi.

“On the show you are going to see drama, creativity, suspense, and colour. It’s going to be explosive and every episode is like that,’’ he says.

“Most of it stems from me provoking them, because I know what they are capable of and if they don’t deliver, I will stir the pot.’’

The format of the show is modelled on the US’s Project Runway and the audience gets to go on a journey with the hopefuls.

The contestants are given a budget to create their designs and have to later sell their creations to the guest judge, proving to the panel that they have what it takes to make it through to the next round.

By doing this, the judges are hoping to teach the young and eager hopefuls how to impress a paying customer.

The winner will walk away with a cash prize of R100000 and an opportunity to work with one of the judges to put out a collection this year.

Ledimo and Mashishi are hopeful about a second season of the exciting production following this one.