Promising couturiers vie for the title of Young designer of the year


The lockdown leisure trend is relegated to the bottom of the wardrobe as glitz and glamor is expected to make a comeback at AFI Fashion Week Joburg 2021 in Sandton next week.

As fashion returns in action with the easing of the lockdown, some top designers such as David Tlale and K Moraba, Imprint and Seditsi Collection will be featured, and this is a huge opportunity for new designers as well.

This week, four Fastrack students from AFI (African Fashion International) finished their designs in Durban.

In contention for the title of Young Designer of the Year, Siyabonga Mtshali, Shamyra Moodley, Cheron Dreyer and Kene Mhletshwa were at Kingsgate Clothing, feverishly putting the finishing touches to their designs.

All four have said the lockdown recreation is over as South Africa heads into summer, with some glamorous evenings on the agenda for year-end and holiday events.

Growing up in Newlands, Durban, and now living in Cape Town, Shamyra Moodley, 40, left her past life as an accountant after the birth of her second child and entered the creative space with her label Laaniraani.

Focusing on sustainable fabrics such as cottons and linen, Moodley said she fell in fashion when, after working in Ireland, she returned to Cape Town and “I found myself sitting on the couch and I knew that I couldn’t be a stay-at-home mom so I started a fashion blog ”.

She started her own label saying, “I can define my own future; it’s a new decade and I can recreate who I am.

Siyabonga Mtshali, 23, who grew up in Richards Bay but headed to the bright lights of Joburg when he signed up – because “it was like New York” worked in theater, dance and music before entering the fashion industry.

“I studied the fabric and I think of the movement and the music that the garment will go through. It can be a beautiful story, ”he said. Looking towards the summer season, he added, “Because of Covid, people want to dress a little more and dive into glitter and glamor. For the coming summer, I see a lot of gathers, pompoms and embroidery ”.

Johannesburg-based Kene Mhletshwa, 31, takes inspiration from simplicity and a clean look, using sheer fabrics.

“I have always loved fashion and was not good at math and science in school. Fashion has to be salable and accessible, ”she said, adding that she also did styling and that her“ must-have ”item in her purse was her lipstick.

Cape Town designer Cheron Dreyer was good at science in school and studied bioscience, but has always been good at art.

“I was always doodling and always doing dresses on the side, and the moment I walked into a design studio I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” he said. she declared.

Dreyer never leaves the house without his lip gloss and has indicated that eyelashes are always at the top of the trend list – after all, masks are still on, with smiling eyes that speak.

AFI Fastrack is a national fashion platform graduated from African Fashion International that offers emerging designers the opportunity to showcase a collection at Johannesburg Fashion Week.

Selected designers are mentored by established designers and complete an online fashion business course.

The winner of the Young Designer of the Year award receives start-up capital to invest in his business and a retail opportunity with the AFI e-commerce platform and the House of Nala concept store.

The show will be hybrid, so both in-person experiences and online guests can go to to register, while the venue is on the 41st floor, The Leonardo, in Sandton.

The independent on Saturday

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