Since its birth in 1998, South African Fashion Week has helped shine a spotlight on the country’s budding fashion creatives, already established ones and, moreover, create a link between these two. Now SA Fashion Weekend has established competition within the week to nurture and expose young designers to the commercial market by giving the finalist all the platforms and logistics needed to achieve that.

The search for the next young designer has begun. The judging bench comprises of managing member at The Fashion Agent and Managing Member at Annette Pringle, Annette Pringle -Kölsch, Head of Design for Superbalist, David West, Head Visual Merchandiser for Lacoste South Africa, Gusti Van Tromp and Stylist and Culture Curator, Kwena Baloyi. Eight designers have been selected from a pool of talents on August 8 after they were tasked to come up with designs that might trend in 2019.

See the full list of the semi-finalists and their brief bio below:

Afrogrunge – After obtaining her Fashion Design degree from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2017, Anita Hlazo launched her fashion label. Since then, she has presented her past collections in numerous local fashion shows, produced a fashion film as an emerging creative with Bokeh Fashion Film Festival and featured in local magazine fashion spreads. The core value of her brand hails from her fascination with worldwide street style and its unorthodox culture.

Art Club and Friends – Robyn Keyser created her brand with the vision of it becoming South Africa’s most celebrated locally and ethically made brand. With a mission to serve as a platform to re-energize the South African Textile Industry, Robyn collaborates with artists of different mediums to create “artwear”; in turn creating an art-loving, community-centric company, which empowers aspiring artists by facilitating mentorship and opportunity.

Birth – Birth’s mantra ‘Simply part of life’ is celebrated in every piece of this Durban-produced, sustainable fashion brand. Founder, Pravisha Naidoo, was introduced into the fashion world through her mother, who sewed garments for a living. Birth is available at The Space stores and a few local boutiques based in Durban.

Cindy Mfabe – With an artistic approach, Cindy Mfabe is a contemporary ready to wear brand that treads the thin line between femininity and masculinity. Founded by LISOF graduate, Cindy Mfabe, the brand has showcased at Lagos Fashion Week and has been featured in numerous publications, including Destiny Magazine and Sunday Times.

Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulo – SAFW SS18, Durban University of Technology (DUT) Rise of the OXX showcasing designer, Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulo, launched her brand in 2018, after completing her National Diploma in Fashion Design. The aspiration behind her namesake brand is female empowerment.

NO SHADE – Streetwear label, NO SHADE, was created by Cape Town-based creative, Nashifah Samuels. Her inspiration is drawn from her hometown, the eclectic fisherman village of Hout Bay. NO SHADE is currently stocked at the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay, Adam and Eve Collab in Stellenbosch, and available online at www.wearenownow.com.

ODE – ODE, founded in 2016 by Rebecca Odendaal, aims to bring their customer pieces inspired by the local and international runway, with trans-seasonal and versatile aspects to create a new take on clothing within the industry. The brand’s accolades include features iMute Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, GQ South Africa, ID Netherlands, Volant Magazine, Jute Magazine, Lucy’s Magazine and Institute Magazine.

Outerwear – Outerwear is a womenswear label founded by Ngcebo Mnyandu and Siyabonga Ntini, who both honed their skills at the Durban University of Technology, studying Fashion and Textiles. The design duo intends to create clothing in any form that stimulates conversation and the desire to celebrate feminine bodies in the arts, politics and every realm, whether dominated by men or not.

The winner of the competition will receive R30,000 to develop their 2019 collection in partnership with The Fashion Agent. They will also represent The Fashion Agent for a year valued at R11,400. Also, be part of the New talent show by South African Fashion Week for a period of one-year valued at 12,500. All finalists will be granted access to the SAFW Trade Event, Autumn/Winter 2019, valued at R 3, 520.00, to engage with buyers and conduct market research for their own brands during the four days. The winner will receive one free stand at the SAFW Designer Pop Up Shop 2019 valued at R 6, 000.00.

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