Gert-Johan Coetzee opens up more opportunities for aspiring designers

South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee. Picture: Itumeleng English/ African News Agency /ANA

South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee. Picture: Itumeleng English/ African News Agency /ANA

Published Dec 15, 2023


Gert-Johan Coetzee, the renowned designer, has announced the inauguration of the 2023 Gert-Johan Coetzee Fashion Bursary, a yearly project that has been playing an integral role in the future of South African fashion.

This esteemed bursary has helped recipients begin prosperous careers in the fast-paced world of fashion, in addition to offering them a thorough education over the years since its beginning in 2009.

Coetzee speaks about the impact of the bursary and further explains his motivations behind the bursary programme, “The bursary is important to me because it is my way of passing the torch to the next generation. I want the students, the diamonds in the rough, to have the same education that I had and then I want to give them the opportunity to come to my studio in Bryanston, and come and learn the actual practice of fashion design. I think it’s one thing to give people an education, but to give them that work experience and mentorship is priceless.”

He also talks about how it has helped winners launch successful careers, with some of them working for various well-known companies and designers, in addition to providing them with a full education.

“Over the years, this prestigious bursary has not only provided winners with a comprehensive education but has also been instrumental in launching successful careers in the dynamic world of fashion. Former recipients are now employed by renowned designers and fashion organisations, established fashion professionals with their own clients, working as stylists and bloggers, and making a positive impact on the ever-evolving South African fashion scene,” said Coetzee

Prudence Kau, who is one of the many illustrious recipients of the bursary, reflects on her experience expressing gratitude for receiving the necessary skills needed to be a fashion designer.

“The best part about the bursary was obviously studying at one of the best fashion schools in SA, North West School of Design, for three years and getting the opportunity to intern and work at the GJC studio. This gave me the necessary skills needed to be a fashion designer."

Prudence Kau currently runs her bridal fashion label, Rachel James Bridal (@racheljamesbridal), and has recently launched a ladies' tailoring business with the help of a fellow North West School of Design graduate, Gaia (@gaiapm_) who plans to build a studio in Kya Sand, Randburg, in January of 2024.

Prudence Kau's achievements are a source of great pride for Gert-Johan Coetzee and the North West School of Design, demonstrating how the Fashion Design Bursary continues to shape and empower the future leaders of the South African fashion industry.

The R204 900 bursary for 2023 is revealed to cover tuition fees and a cutting-edge Bernina sewing machine.

The chosen winner will begin their studies at the North West School of Design on January 31, 2024, which just celebrated 25 years of excellence in training South Africa's finest designers and fashion professionals.

Saturday Star

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