Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Awards

Ten talented student designers were handpicked from twenty-five strong entries to proceed to the final round of the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair, a prestigious fashion competition that offers aspiring KwaZulu-Natal fashion students an invaluable opportunity in advancing their fashion career.

Talent abounded on the tastefully decorated runway with competition ensembles sewn from a range of innovative ideas that suited the card-inspired ‘Leader of the Pack’ theme. Models wore outfits boasting diamond cut-outs, geometric prints and stylish accessories.

Audiences were also treated to five stylish collections from the Vodacom Durban July Designer Collection presented by Durban Fashion Fair, giving but a taste of what to wear on raceday.

Judged by some of the most respected names in the industry, Zama Mathe, Kathrin Kidger, Sindi Shangase, Hanrie Lues and Gold Circle’s Monica Holman, the finalists’ creations showcased a delicate blend of creativity, technical precision and clever interpretation of the raceday theme.

Popular Durban designer and one of this year’s eight Invited Designers, Zama Mathe, felt the students pushed the envelope: “I loved the fact that the students can construct a garment really well, interpret the theme in an indirect way and create a raceday ready outfit that is fashion forward and trendy.”

It was the first time judging the Young Designer Award for Bloemfontein Invited Designer Hanrie Lues, who herself excelled in the national version of the fashion competition, the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge, just a few years back.

“I personally loved the designs where I could see the designer’s concept come to life through great execution. The beauty of the construction combined with an innovative idea and good fabric use was what stood out for me.”

The finale will play itself out on the Action Stage at Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event on July 2 with the eventual winner walking away with an array of prizes including a trip to New York fashion Week flying courtesy of Delta Air Lines, R5 000 from both Gold Circle and Schweppes, a Huawei P9 Smartphone from Vodacom and much more. Second and third prize winners will win R3000 and R2000 respectively.

Until the big day racegoers can join in the July fever festivities by attending one of two Fashion Experience Shows made up of the stellar collections from the eight Invited Designers as well as creations from the finalists of the national Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge and the regional Young Designer competition.

The ten finalists in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair are: Shéskia Aprakshya Ramnath (DUT), Neshika Nundkwar (DUT), Jessie-Gray Thornton (DUT), Leona Magdelene Pillay (DUT), Nonkululeko Zama Msomi (Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion Design), Mariah Bianca Govender (DUT), Jessica Shuttleworth (DUT), Philani T Mthiyane (Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion Design), Jamie Lynn Marais (DUT) and Athenkosi Mfungula (Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion Design).

The 2016 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 2 July. More information can be found at

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