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The Nelson Mandela Bay fashion industry has, once again, proved to be in good hands with the success of the 2019 NMU graduate fashion show. A group of budding designers from the university’s fashion and textile design courses blew guests away as they showcased their work at the Tramways Building at the weekend.


The show gave about 13 third-year and BTech students a glimpse of the industry in which they are seeking a career.

For some, this was the first time they have showcased their work on the ramp.

NMU fashion design lecturer and show co-organiser Meike Janse van Rensburg said the annual show was aimed at assisting students in taking the first step towards the rest of their career in fashion.

“This annual show is to give the students an experience of running a show themselves, almost like an industry practice with an academic grounding because their work is judged at the event and they get [academic] marks based on it.

“I think it's also important for them, as our local designers, to present their work to the community so that people see what it is that they do and how hard they work to produce these amazing creations.

“In the past people have been scouted for jobs from our shows so this is also an opportunity for the industry,” Van Rensburg said.

This was the first time the annual show had been held off the university premises, Van Rensburg said.

The designers include BTech student Thandazani Nofingxana and Samantha Cunningham alongside third-year students Pumelela Mlenze, Luxolo Mtsatseni, Ariana Patsalos, Andrea Rautenbach, Robyn Strydom, Thomas Terblanche and others.

In addition to their individual ranges, varying from casual to evening and semi-formal wear, the third-year designers showcased designs that formed part of their Provoke/Ukuchukumisa/Daag-uit exhibition, an extended project of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations.

The exhibition is conceptually synchronised through the theme “Dalibhunga: This time? That Mandela” which addresses the different perceptions, images and discourses associated with Mandela across time and space.

NMU third-year lecturer Raquel Adriaan said: “The quality of work the students produced is amazing and while we’ve had this fashion show previously, I think this year’s show really set the bar for what is expected from third-year design students.

“Selling was not the primary purpose of the show but if anyone expresses interest in purchasing [as there have been some] then they would, but our main focus was on giving the students experience so they know how it’s done, as one would with an internship,” Adriaan said.

Model Aobakwe Motshelabola in an Ariana Patsalos design at the Nelson Mandela University graduate fashion show
Image: Shannon Chivers

This article appeared in The Herald South Africa on 21 October written by Zamandulo Malonde.

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