This year’s judges for the ELLE Rising Star Design Award have a tough task ahead of them deciding who between the seven finalists will be announced the winner. Desire lurks up and ‘need’ and ‘want’ become ‘have to have’ by observing the finalists’ sketch books alone.
The ELLE Rising Star Design Award, in association with Mr Price and presented by African Fashion International, was opened to fashion designers from across the continent this time around, creating an opportunity for a wider demographic of young and aspiring designers from Africa.
These are the shortlisted finalists who, according to style curator and fashion consultant, Jackie Burger, “are the new generation of designers with a unified modernist vision.”
The winner will be announced, after flaunting their designs catwalk-style on a world class ramp at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa 2014. There is more; the winner stands a chance to launch their very own fashion label with Mr Price! The prize also includes a two-week mentorship programme at the Mr Price head office in Durban where the winner will be exposed to the complete retail cycle, from trend forecasting to merchandising. Similarly, the ELLE Rising Star will spend two weeks at the ELLE office with the ELLE editor and her fashion team. In addition, the title comes with a R30 000 cash prize from Mr Price and the opportunity to show a range at the 2015 ELLE Rising Star Design Awards with R7 000 from Mr Price to help fund the range. The 2014 ELLE Rising Star will furthermore participate in the AFI Next Generation programme and show a spring/summer collection as part of the programme.
The judges for 2014 ELLE Rising Star competition are Joanne Frédéric, trend director of MRP Apparel; Anisa Mpungwe, winner of the 2008 ELLE New Talent Award; Amber Jones, Ladies Trend Executive at Mr Price; Nicholas Coutts, Winner of the 2013 ELLE Rising Star Design Award in association with Mr Price; Jackie Burger, Style curator, fashion consultant and editor-at-large; Thebe Ikalafeng, Global African branding authority. Founder of Brand Leadership Group & Brand Africa; Bella Cebekhulu, New Business Development Manager, AFI; Clayton Kachecha, Lecturer at Regenesys Business School; and Emilie Gambade, editor of ELLE South Africa, who says, “Judging the applications is an incredibly inspiring process, paging through the storyboards, the selection of fabric swatches and the technical sketches, but it’s also a serious and a difficult one as we were looking for the crème de la crème of fashion design on the continent.”
Meet the finalists:
The androgynousinside by Kelli Botha
My collection is inspired by the androgynous aesthetic. My work is a combination of masculine and feminine. I have played with different textures and big versus small silhouettes. My personal taste that is for less rather than more, negative space and a less feminine approach all came together as a strong concept.
Modern Eclectic by Frances Pauls
I spent a great deal of my childhood exploring the South African and African coastline. I am inspired by the soft faded sun-kissed colours that we find above the water’s surface; the soft tones of the sand, sun-bleached sarongs and faded wood paint and how these tones are contrasted by the bright luminescent underwater life with their naturally graphic colours.
In the collection I experiment with fading hand selected shweshwe prints bringing them down to pastel washed-out tones that are quite unexpected in this textile. I want this collection to tell a modern eclectic African tale, one that speaks of our heritage and the beauty of our oceans while combining it with a sophisticated sports luxe aesthetic.
Solid Exterior by Jeandri Britz
Solid Exterior represents a strong personality. The way someone will put up their guard and let others only see the idea of that person, but still give you the idea of vulnerability that can only be overcome by the suppression of their own emotions. The silhouette resembles characteristics of a shell, whether it’s an eggshell or the fragile skin of a creature. It is what protects our bodies as a hiding place for your own emotions. I experimented with contrasting fabrics, working with tough yet see-through materials that hide the body like a soft shield.
Digital Opacity by Charis Dawson
I am fascinated by the obsession with social media and thought it would be interesting to interpret this obsession into a collection. The range is inspired by street style and the layering of websites. I’ve been inspired by pixels, tiny elements that in their millions allow our fixation of digital media, and for this reason the collection draws on very square and linear shapes – boxy silhouettes, square panel lines – and pairs it with transparent layering. I’ve also used a lot of digital prints that appear like a holographic hash-tag and used dyes to create custom-made fabrics.
Geometrics by Tamara Cherie Dyson
My womenswear collection showcases discreet indulgence, carefully considered design, an underlying minimalistic approach, and a flawless aesthetic – a balanced sense of beauty emerges through simple perfection. Influenced by the line, shape and form of Bahaus architectural design, stark linear shapes contrasted with fluid, curved lines flow throughout the range in striking and subtle ways, I have used predominately natural fabrics with subtle textural contrasts such as percale, silk organza and merino with meticulous attention to detail and finishing to create a wardrobe of luxurious garments and layered surfaces, highlighting the high-end mood.
Coast-to-Coast by Michelle van der Westhuizen
Coast-to-Coast is based on my love for the ocean and my hometown coastline. My inspiration is drawn from fishermen. I was inspired by their work wear comprising staple elements like aprons and parkas where I replicated the aprons used for cleaning fish in their pinafore styling. The grey Melton reflects the decayed worn quality of their clothes. The collection comprises several staple articles of clothing made of natural fibres and natural textures.
Unfortunate Art by Natsie (Nadia Viljoen)
My inspiration for this collection and my future label comes from illegal art, which I refer to as unfortunate art for it doesn’t get the full appreciation, attention, exposure and understanding it deserves. The garments’ shapes are clean and pure with a touch of drapery with segments of artworks printed on the fabrics. Another key part of the collection is the juxtaposition of sheer and stiffer fabrics.
For this collection I plan to use fabrics like scuba, ottoman, silky chiffon, suede, twill, viscose, lycra, chiffon silk, felt and ponti. I will be experimenting with different techniques such as digital printing, dip-dyeing, hand painting, laser-cutting and spray-painting.