Press Release 

For immediate Release 

29 April 2015

Aspiring Designers Clench An Opportunity Of A Life Time

SEVENTEEN aspiring designers have been selected to take part in the Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) Mentorship Programme which includes working closely with some of eThekwini’s top fashion gurus.

The successful young designers will also compete against each other in order to qualify for an opportunity for a second mentorship experience of a lifetime in Italy, one of the world’s fashion capitals. 

Hundreds of designers put their names forward in September last year and only 17 were chosen to take part in the programme. 

As the programme progresses, seven aspiring designers will be eliminated from the programme leaving only 10 who will travel to Milan in Italy between August and December for a first-hand experience of the international world of fashion. 

The interns, who are between the ages of 23 to 35, are all currently working in the fashion industry. 

The selection criteria was based on the following:

• Creativity -which was judged on story boards and garment construction;

• Business acumen - through demonstrating a traceable client base, business plan and business skills.

Their designs will be showcased at a show in May hosted at Sibaya Casino. 

Themed Fashion Over the Decades, this will see the interns divided into groups with each group showcasing fashion from a particular decade, starting with the swinging sixties and ending with the noughties (the 2000’s). 

It will bring together the City’s fashionistas as well as buyers, suppliers and industry leaders and media.

The 10 successful interns will also see their work on the ramp at the DFF between August 26 and 29. 

Sindi Shangase, the Programme Manager for the Business Support Tourism and Markets Unit and who has driven the DFF since inception in 2012 said the mentorship programme is intended to train enterprising young designers in different aspects of the fashion business and prepare them and their collections for the DFF and for the mentorship in Milan. 

Programme mentors are respected designer, Terrence Bray, who will assist with orientation, choice of textiles, collection design and styling amongst other things and Greg Wallis who will not only guide interns on orientation and textile selection but provide valuable information regarding manufacturing, brand management, costing and entering the world of retail. 

Guest lecturers include Derrick Mhlongo (styling collections), Bongiwe Ntuli (financial/legal issues), Famida Shaik (textiles, costing and manufacturing), Sheila Chetty (Manufacturing, collections), Mr Price’s Amber Jones (inspiration), Gelvenor Textiles, Lawrence Naidoo from Jirah Fashions (manufacturing) and Larry Welman from Wellman and Associates (brand management).

Interns competing for the Milan mentorship will be provided with different design briefs each week and assignments. They will work in teams, selecting a team leader and critiquing each other’s work. They will be taught to build collections from start to finish whilst additional modules will show these aspiring designers how to run their own successful businesses. 

Gelvenor Textiles, one of Durban’s biggest success stories in the textile arena, will contribute R120 000 to the DFF Mentorship Programme and sponsor the eagerly anticipated May fashion show. 

The company is a big name in the global specialist textile arena. This Hammarsdale based manufacturer’s products include apparel fabrics, specialised sport and outdoor fabrics, ballistic and flame retardant textiles, aeronautical textiles, print and coat base cloths, multifilament filtration media and specialty reinforcing grids and scrim industrial fabrics. Its brands are Qantec, Qantec microfiber, Granite, APC, Team Puma and Airotec.

Gelvenor Textiles’ success lies in continual investment in research and technology and in an on-going drive for the production of the highest quality innovative fabrics.

To find out more about the Durban Fashion Fair, log on to:durbanfashionfairvisit official facebookpage: facebook:DurbanFashionFair or​ Twitter:DbnFashionFair​. 


Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information contact Gugu Mbonambi on 031 311 4855 or email: