The top 10 finalists of the AFI Fastrack™ programme have been announced, all of whom will showcase their designs on the final day of one the country’s foremost sartorial events, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ), at Sandton Convention Centre on Saturday, 22nd March.
Now in its fourth year, AFI Fastrack™ is a national fashion design acceleration platform that aims to nurture and develop South Africa’s young design talent, offering young designers an opportunity to launch their careers through intensive mentorship and achieve future success through business development coaching.
“This year’s 10 AFI Fastrack™ finalists are testament to the fact that the design talent coming out of South Africa is of the highest calibre. African Fashion International (AFI) is proud to provide a platform for these young designers to make themselves known and acquires the crucial skills for sustainability in the industry,” says AFI Spokesperson, Nicholas Maweni.
In a stringent selection process, judges looked at graduate ranges from participating design institutions around the country to identify the 10 finalists – Rich Mnisi, Ditiro Mashingo, Ellen Kondowe and Tuelo Ngunyuka from Gauteng; Fabian Ah-Sing, Jessica Ross, Robynn Deedat and Naazeen Kagee from the Western Cape; Benazeer Mulla from Kwa-Zulu Natal; and Ruth Mc Naughton from the Eastern Cape. These young designers were selected based on the excellent presentation, awareness of contemporary design trends, consideration of necessary details and trims, visual appeal, and technical consideration evidenced in their ranges.
On Saturday, 22nd March, during the AFI Fastrack™ showcase at MBFWJ, each of the finalists will face the challenge of standing out from their peers by demonstrating originality and visionary potential to the esteemed panel of judges.
At the end of the showcase, three winners will be announced, with each receiving a substantial cash prize from AFI and an internship in the studio of an established fashion designer as well as an opportunity to launch a capsule collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2014.
All AFI Fastrack™ finalists will also attend the AFI FashionTalks seminars, to be held during MBFWJ, where industry giants will impart valuable knowledge about distribution, technological innovation and how they established their own brands.
“We at AFI are pleased to partner once again with Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), whose purpose is to grow the economy by positioning Gauteng as a Globally Competitive City Region,” adds Maweni.
Many former finalists – such as 2012 winner, Kim Gush and 2013 finalists, Khothatso Tsotetsi (KL Tsotetsi), Angie Masike and Jenevieve Lyons – have gone on to establish their own successful labels and have made significant inroads on the local design world. 2013 AFI Young Designer of the Year, Eleni Labrou, along with her label Akedo, for instance, has not only hit the runway but featured in numerous, high-end, glossy fashion magazines.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg, the country’s leading winter/autumn collection fashion event, runs at the Sandton Convention Centre from 20th – 22nd March.
From The Desk Of: Megan Gotkin | C.S.A |firstname.lastname@example.org | 021 433 0347