Creative energy takes to stage

Explosions of colour, African-inspired prints and cutting-edge design were the hallmarks of this year’s edition of the annual Walter Sisulu University fashion show Ramp Revolution.

The show, which featured the work of 43 of the university’s fashion design students, was held at East London’s Guild Theatre on Sunday where third-year fashion design students had the opportunity of impressing the city’s fashionistas with what they can do with fabric.

WSU Fashion department technician Sibusisiwe Ndodana said the fashion show formed part of the student curriculum and added value to the students’ portfolios, especially third-year students who were going to study further at other institutions or entering the job market.

“The creative industry is not easy to penetrate, especially the fashion aspect of it. Therefore the fashion department tries to engage as many stakeholders as possible to assist with putting our students out there in different avenues.”

“Another upcoming collaboration for the university is with the Buyelekhaya Fashion Show ,” she said. Here, some students will showcase their work at a fashion show leading up to the annual musical event. She added that “some of these students have been handpicked by David Tlale for his internship programme”.

Ndodana said the Eastern Cape Development Corporation had recently opened a craft shop with a fashion section which accepted clothing on consignment, where it was hoped more of the work of WSU’s design students, both current and former, will feature.

On Sunday, final-year fashion design student Bulelani Masango walked away with top honours as this year’s overall winner. He received an overlocker machine and a fabric voucher from Jacksons in Nahoon.

His winning collection “Lighten up the Future” is a wedding range combining African and Western themes.

“I realised that we, as youth, tend to rush into things – we want to finish school, get married and own big houses and cars. These are things we can do at a later stage.

“But that’s where I drew my inspiration from. Marriage and weddings have become such a big thing now,” said Masango. He said although he wished to continue studying after graduating, because of financial constraints he had to make way for his younger siblings.

The designer said he was going to use the machine he had won to start up his own small business.

In second place, winning for Best Fabric Combination was Ntokozo Nomntu with his collection “Gentle Breeze”.

The designer said he only completed his collection three days before the fashion show. After lots of hard work and sleepless nights, just seeing his collection complete was reward enough.

Nomntu also received a sewing machine and stationery voucher from City Stationers.

“I am so happy. I really did not expect to win at all.

“Just being part of the fashion show and seeing my work was rewarding for me,” he said.

Esihle Mbobo won third place for her bright, African print-inspired designs.

Mbobo said she was inspired by the beauty of the African continent and that is how her collection “Chicky Chick” came about.

The designer also received a sewing machine, as well as a sewing kit box collection.

The designers said this final year was a difficult year as they were not only faced with the pressure of completing their studies but with the additional challenges of the #FeesMustFall campaign, where the university had to shut down and they were not able to work.

Because fashion design was so practical they lost a lot of work time and were faced with the pressure of completing their curriculum on time.

They were, however, happy to have been part of the fashion show and said they were looking forward to life after varsity in the fashion industry. —

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