Makeover winners, Ashwin Norman Adams and Thea Lennox. Picture: Steven Greaves
The Wear South African initiative promotes African fashion designs and encourages South Africans to support local designers and be more label conscious by buying and wearing local labels. Their “Wear SA” campaign recently hosted free fashion shows in several shopping malls around the Western Cape. Wear South African, an initiative by the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU), is designed to promote the local design and manufacturing sector. The fashion showcase this year included designers such as Magents, Blue Collar White Collar, Democracy of Denim and Wear SA, NVme Bikini and Nineteen94.
As a campaign finale, they ran a competition in partnership with IOL Lifestyle where they called on fashion lovers to compete for a makeover. The winners were given the opportunity to be part of the final fashion show which took place at Somerset Mall on Saturday May 20. Each winner was treated to a lovely mini makeover which included hair by Calton Hair and make-up by Woolworth SA.

The winners were Thea Lennox , a police official and Ashwin Norman Adams .IOL Lifestyle caught up with the winners after the show to find how it felt winning the competition and their take on the South African fashion industry.
Thea Lennox

As a police official, how do you manage fashion and wearing the SAPS uniform?
When you wear the uniform sometimes you don’t look or feel feminine and when I’m off duty I try to be a little more feminine and with our South African fashion now you can always look fashionable and feel beautiful.
How do you feel about South African fashion and people wearing international brands?
If you look at our local fashion you can see there is so much variety and our designers understand our size which sometimes becomes a problem with international brands. Even for someone who is fuller body like me. We have all the tools and creativity to compete on an international scale and be better.
What do you feel about Wear SA?
I think it’s an important concept and brand to promote local design, not enough people are aware or feel the need to support our fashion industry and it’s one of the reasons why I entered this competition and even at work I’ve been telling people about Wear SA.

How did you feel about winning the competition?
I couldn’t believe it because you don’t expect a person of my size to walk down the runway because models are usually half my size and I think that’s the beauty of South Africa because it’s able to accommodate every shape and size.

How has the whole experience been?
It really is a great feeling, from getting my hair done and getting pampered. Walking down the runway way really special because I didn’t care what anybody had to say it was my special moment and also a model.
I would love to say thank you to Wear SA giving this opportunity and taking me out of my comfort zone, I work with a lot of people everyday but it totally different to people screaming and cheering you on and also the opportunity to be behind the scenes and realise it’s not about the models walking down the runway and being glamorous but there are people who work tirelessly to ensure a great show.
Ashwin Norman Adams
Originally from the Northern Cape working at Harambe Agency which is an agency that gets candidates from previously disadvantaged communities where they train them, give them necessary working skills and connect them with employers.
What made you enter the competition?
I entered because I wanted to get a platform, I always watch fashion shows on tv and I’ve always loved fashion and the it’s about South African designers.
Are you a local designer supporter?
Yes, I am and I believe our South African designers don’t get the platform and support compared to international designers and I feel like why not help out my neighbour and getting them to where those designers abroad are.
What do you think about local fashion compared to international fashion?
I feel that in South Africa we have all the creativity, inspiration like the different cultures we have. South African designers have a different flare compared to international designers and that’s why I don’t feel connected to clothing from abroad designers.
Tell us about your outfit today.
I got to pick my own outfit and it’s about comfort because whatever I wear I must feel comfortable. I’m still enjoying the last bit of sunshine before the winter months so that’s why I picked a floral shirt, white tailored shorts and gladiator sandals.
How do you feel about winning the competition?
I feel really excited, I didn’t think I would win and at the same time I feel nervous because I’ve never walked down the runway before. I also would like to thank Wear SA for giving me an opportunity for a make-over.