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DIT FASHION WINNERS (article first published : 2005-10-15)

Durban has been the source of many of South Africa’s hottest clothing designers, with the likes of award-winners such as Craig Native, Amanda Laird-Cherry, Dion Chang, Terrence Bray, Oliver Pyewell, Kathrin Kidger and Karen Monk-klijnstra, to name just a few. They are all past students of the Department of Fashion at Durban’s Institute of Technology (DIT) and the Class of 2005 has produced another batch of exciting new designers.

At the annual DIT Fashion Show earlier this month, 25 finalists out of 57 final-year fashion students at DIT presented their ranges with models from Ice Models on the theme “Layers”. If the enthusiasm of the audience and the judges is anything to go by, these students are already making waves.

Impressing the judges were Zimasa Nyaka who won the best range on show; Christie Walker (best menswear); Wendy Shutlz (best technical and a Terrence Bray award), and Taryn Dunstan-Smith (most innovative).

Winning the other Terrence Bray award was Ashleigh Rogers. Durban Designers Emporium Opportunity awards were won by Meryl Collins, Fezile Mdletshe and Sibusisiwe Msimange. Rakesh Balram received the award for the student who displayed good overall performance throughout the course and the qualities needed to achieve in the industry.

Myyaka was thrilled to have won and said that her range was inspired by Durban’s youth. “Indian and Zulu youthwear and hip-hop – these are what is in my range, which is eclectic, urban and fun. I’m interested in deconstructing fabric – tearing holes that still look good, clothes worn inside out, stitching and torn and worn fabric. About 40% of my range can be worn right now – the rest is just to give inspiration, to entertain and to give a good show. Fashion design for me is a personal thing – a melting pot of all my skills and interests.”

George Vorster, head of DIT’s Department of Fashion said: “The theme Layers is a current and versatile look. It can be addressed in terms of fabric or simply in terms of clothing and is here to stay for quite a while. Both the judges and I were excited by the students’ innovative translations of this theme.”

All well-known on the local fashion front, the judges included Amanda Laird-Cherry, Terrence Bray, Gary and Laurie Holmes, who design under the name Holmes Brothers, and Emile Dlamini.

Sponsored by fashion heavyweights such as the Holmes Brother, DDE, Edcon, John Peter, and the Frame Group, the prizes are a good indication of the seriousness with which students emerging from the DIT’s fashion and textile training are viewed. The annual show is used as a picking ground by a number of major fashion concerns.

With the Durban Institute of Technology now being a university of Technology, the courses in fashion design and textiles are registered degree courses which can be taken up to a doctorate level. Each year the department turns out approximately 50 students who are trained not only in textile and fashion design but also in pattern cutting, merchandising and business management.

Many DIT fashion students are quickly snapped up by major groups and offered posts in the field of design, buying and merchandising, while others develop names for themselves under their own labels. This gives rise to the Department’s pride in their successful training of future members of the fashion industry and employment creation.

More information from Judy van der Walt on 083 639 9449.




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