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The frustration of not knowing what to study has been harnessed to great effect by a Nelson Mandela University fashion and textile design student, who is delighted to have been chosen to represent SA in a design competition in London.

Shelby Horn, 25, is set to represent her university and the country in the International Society of Dyers and Colourists design competition, co-ordinated by the SA Dyers and Finishers’ Association in London, after she won the national leg of the competition.

Contestants were required to submit their original concepts with samples of their complete pieces in line with the “colour communication” theme.

Horn’s concept, which she said was inspired by her struggle to find her purpose that led to a dark period in her life, earned her the number one spot in SA.

“When I heard what the theme was, I started using Archroma [a colour and specialty chemicals website] to [practice matching colours properly] because I wanted to use colour communication to tell my personal story through colour,” Horn said.

“When I was 18, I didn’t know what I wanted to study and I was just not very optiFormer mistic about life in general as I felt like I had no purpose, so the story I’m portraying in this garment is how coming to art school added colour into my life,” she said.

Horn incorporated white, purple and yellow in her piece to communicate the dark and brighter moments of her journey to finding her purpose.

She describes her brand through the slogan “live life brightly, celebrate in colour”.

Horn showcased a bright, floral tennis sportswear range in the Fashion and Textile Design Graduate Showcase at the recent Mandela Bay Fashion Week.

“When you enter these things you never know what the outcome will be, so I was really overwhelmed when I received the news that I had won,” she said.

She will represent SA among the frontrunners from different countries around the world at the grand finale, where designers will present the complete versions of the samples they submitted on entering the competitions.

Horn, who prints her own patterns, will present her final product (a jacket and shorts coloured through natural dyeing) to a panel of judges on November 26 in London.

She will be required to answer questions about her imaginative use of colour, choice of materials and how she incorporated the “colour communication” theme into her design.

Nelson Mandela University has had three of its students, including acclaimed knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo, win the international competition, and about five national winners since 2009.

Picture: WERNER HILLS LIVING BRIGHTLY: Shelby Horn with one of her designs at the NMU fashion department

This article appeared in The Herald of 23 October 2018 written by 
Zamandulo Malonde

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Contact information
Ms Jean Luyt
Lecturer: Applied Design (Textiles)
Tel: 27 41 5043719