Students reimagine handcrafted items for a great cause

Part of the Curated Collection at Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria. Supplied

Part of the Curated Collection at Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria. Supplied

Published Jul 5, 2024


The Curated Collection is now live at Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria, and is a dynamic partnership between the centre, The Scoin Shop, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day and Embassy Direct.

The incredibly talented students from Stadio School of Fashion were challenged to reimagine handcrafted items made by 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela and deliver a fusion of fashion and yarn designed to captivate patrons. Up-and-coming young couturiers are competing for bragging rights and cash prizes.

Industry expert Anna-Mari Pretorius mentored the students, who tapped into their creativity and skill to deliver a unique take on the heritage handicraft skills of knitting and crocheting. She says, “This wonderful collaboration set the stage for young design talent to get a different perspective on wool. It was a delight working with a group of motivated young people - who spent their mid-year working on their designs. Who says GenZ is unmotivated?”

The judges panel featured Craig Jacobs, creative director of Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs, Jacques Bam from The Bam Collective and Natasha Jaume from Erre Fashion.

Jacobs said: “As someone who is passionate about sustainability and craft, I am in awe of the dexterity and creativity which the students have shown in refashioning crocheted blankets into the avant-garde. Hopefully, this will inspire the public not only to do their bit in helping to grow the cause of 67 Blankets but also encourage them to relook at the garments in their wardrobe, which hardly get worn, and give them a new lease of life!”

Bam commented: “As a designer myself, I really enjoy any work that is thought-provoking and challenges the way we think about designing and making. I found the exhibition created such a lovely narrative around the intersection between art and fashion, suspending garments in a way that envelopes the viewer while simultaneously celebrating and honouring the beautiful tactility of the hand-knitted blankets provided.

“I was particularly struck by the idea that the exhibits can all be completely deconstructed without damaging the blankets, in order to ensure they can be donated. It is such a beautifully considered way of looking at clothing. Ultimately, I am also proud and excited to see young designers' work on full display! It is so inspiring to know that the future of creation in South Africa is in great hands.”

Jaume noted that this project is an opportunity for students to express their creativity in an organic way - not dictated to by a brief. “The students got a chance to explore materials like handcrafted textiles and push the creative boundaries. I think it is a wonderful showcase to draw attention to 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day and to encourage the public to get involved and contribute to a worthy cause. The exhibition is vibrant, and colourful and definitely takes the traditional granny square to another level.”

The “Best in Show” and runner-up winners will be announced on July 17.

Rael Demby, CEO of the The Scoin Shop, said: “ We have been linked to 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day since it started in 2014. Carolyn Steyn invited us to get involved, and we got behind this wonderful initiative, which brings warmth and hope to countless communities. This collaboration with Brooklyn Mall is an exciting development. Our business is always at the forefront of innovation, and this exciting fusion of fashion and philanthropy is a new way to support the work of the 67 Blankets team”.

Pretoria News