Wednesday 5 March 2014

Profile: Renee Nicole Sander x Design Indaba 2014

Complements of Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), whilst attending #DesignIndaba 2014 I spent some time chatting to some of the Emerging Designers they sponsored to showcase at DI Expo. It was quite interesting spending time with some of the future creative leaders (that’s me being optimistic). Casually seating on the carpet next to their stands and listening to their creative way of thinking and how they foresee their future businesses. Their struggles, joys, what drives and inspires them, to be the great they are today amongst their peers and the greatest they can (or will) become.

Renee Nicole Sander is a 25 years old, free spirited Cape Town based Fashion designer. She has an incredible aura about her that just makes you feel at ease when you around her!

Renee shared with me that she has an interest in doing a menswear collection in the near future but that will come once she really has established what direction she is taking her brand.

Her graduate collection was quite avant garde, as depicted in lookbook above. She is still yet to reach the designer crossroad where her creative brilliance meets commercialization. That will allow her to come to the decision of whether she is heading right or left. This will be a mental point of departure for her; which will lead to a destination where she can create aesthetically appealing garments. Which are commercially viable for a specified target market. Welcome to the business of fashion.

My advice to her was that, if this ready-to-wear thing doesn’t work out she can always be an incredible costume designer for movie production houses. There is still big money there. In any case here is a Q&A session I had with Renee...

1. As a young emerging South African creator (designer) what are some of your biggest frustrations about the industry you operate in. What is it you would like to see change and what is your solution recommendation?

For me, the biggest frustration in the South African fashion industry is the lack of understanding for conceptual fashion design. I feel that maybe through more introduction of conceptual fashion that we could mould the local eye to become more accepting to new fashion ideas.

2. What are you most positive about with regards to the (South) African creative and design industry?

The most exciting thing about the South African creative community is the rate it is growing at. Being the World Design Capital will help our growing community gain a stronger voice. As our community grows, I feel we can all be more open to our unique style of design. We are no longer stuck to traditional design ways of South Africa and have more room to explore and experiment.

3. Was this your first time exhibiting at the Design Indaba under the Emerging Creatives' Programme and how has  the whole experience helped you and exposed you most to.  As the expo ends today what are you taking with you that you will apply later on to your design business model?

This year was my first time exhibiting at the Design Indaba as an Emerging Creative, as well as the first time presenting my collection to the open public. I think the best part of being an Emerging Creative is the networking. It was so great to meet local creatives; as well as get to know the fashion industry a bit better. I met so many interesting people from the local and international creative community that are either new to the industry, like me, or have had experience in the field. It is a comforting thing to know that we are all in the same boat.

Things to apply to my business model: 
·        Market yourself continuously, as you know your product best.
·        Collaborate with other local creatives to gain interest and new ideas.
·       Be brave with your design ideas but supply basics too, as conceptual ideas draw interest but smaller sales.
·       Stand behind your work no matter what. Being proud of your product is so important in this competitive industry.

4. Do you feel that the Department of Arts and Culture’s Emerging Creatives programme at Design Indaba is enough as a government’s initiative to support South African creative talent?

I feel we should always push to achieve more local support for the creative community but the Emerging Creatives programme really does help to promote new talent and that this year I was really proud to have been a part of that.

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