Glitz and glamour at EL fashion show

Creativity and cutting-edge design were on full display at the second edition of the Buyel’Ekhaya Fashion Show. The newly-added element to the traditionally music-only festival was in full bloom at the Orient Theatre on Friday evening.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES: Buyel’Ekhaya event founder Nomahlubi Mazwai and fashion powerhouse Thula Sindi stand either side of winners Ati Setipa and Nomfuneko Kenyane. Picture: MARK ANDREWS

Among those showcased at the fashion extravaganza were 10 top Eastern Cape designers, selected by fashion-powerhouse David Tlale, who got to spend 10 days being mentored by Thula Sindi in Johannesburg. They were selected last month to participate in the competition where the top two would be further groomed for success.

Mthatha-born Ati Setipa and Mdantsane-based Nomfuneko Kenyane came out as the top two EC designers who will get a six-month internship with Sindi in the new year. After their internship, these designers will get to sell their garments in stores in Johannesburg, and have their own online store created for them.

This year’s theme was “going back to the roots”, and the EC designers had to produce garments that spoke to the roots of their originality. On Friday, they revealed two of their ready-to-wear, contemporary garments they had created with Sindi.

Sindi said the top two had been selected for their creativity and potential profitability. “All of these designers are very gifted and will go far in the industry, but these two displayed creativity as well as commercial profitability, because at the end of the day, your garments need to sell.”

Setipa, 31, said securing a place at the top showed her the rewards of patience and hard work. “I am overjoyed because this is an opportunity to gain exposure nationally and internationally. Having my clothes in established stores, as well as my own online store will be a great stepping stone, and a chance to reach a greater market beyond South Africa.”

Kenyane, 35, said her garments had been inspired by elements of the indigenous Xhosa way of dress. “When I did my research into the origins of our traditional wear, I discovered that a lot of the fabrics we use are adopted from other countries, so I incorporated leather and beads into my designs, which I found to be part of the original Xhosa fabric.”

“This opportunity for me means exposure, access to wider markets, and growth.”

Radio and television personality Anele Mdoda, who is from the Eastern Cape, presided over the event. “This province is a hub for talent and creativity, but such platforms are needed to show aspirant young people what’s out there,” she said.

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