Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award

Celebrating making the top 10 of last year’s Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award semi-finals

Students vie for semi-final spots

With just weeks to go to the first round of judging for the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award, student designers from around the province are hard at work formalising their ideas for the prestigious competition.

In the picture: Celebrating making the top 10 of last year’s Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award semi-finals are (back from left) Samkelisiwe Mbatha with model Masego, model Luvuyo with Katekani Moreku, Edith with Sbonelo Sosibo, (front from left) model Tyler-Page with Kirsten Godfrey and Nasreen Paruk with model Janine.
Picture: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

Based on this year’s Durban July theme of “It Is Time”, the students have to present their finished garments to the panel of judges, at Greyville Racecourse on Monday, June 4, in a bid to make the cut for the semi-finals of the competition.

The competition is open to registered student designers from across KwaZulu-Natal, and last year, attracted entries for 105 students representing six different institutions. Organisers expect this to grow this year.


At the Lindiwe Khuzwayo School of Fashion, lecturers are working closely with their students to ensure appropriate interpretation of the theme and ensure that cutting edge creativity is tempered with enough practicality to catch the judges’ attention.

“It has been a tricky theme this year,” said Kwame Khuzwayo. “We did a presentation to guide the students in the way they interpret the theme, and now we are working closely with about 30 students to assist them.”

He said that two of their students, Mnotho Ngema and Thabani Khawula, had made the top 10 last year, which provided plenty inspiration for the current students.

“We can’t wait to see what we will get this year, because we will see the impact that last year’s finalists had on inspiring our students this year,” he added.

Similarly the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion Design will be looking to ride on the coat-tails of the 2017 top 10 finalist, Sbonelo Sisobo’s achievements and the stunning win in the competition in 2016, by Leona Pillay, to inspire their current crop of aspiring fashionistas.

“That had an immediate impact on the enthusiasm among our students, for sure,” said Priscilla Bika.

“Our students are currently drafting their designs, and we expect to have at least 16 polished outfits for the first round of judging,’ she added.

DUT student designers (from left, front) Siphiwo Mkhwanazi, Nomthandazo Madolo, Nandi Zulu, Malcolm Mokgope, and (from left, back): Siyabonga Mahlaba, Mhlengi Mngoma aiming at the semi-finals of the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award.
Helen Smith/Gameplan Media

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) has a strong history at the event, and they prioritise the competition as a key part of their syllabus.

“For the second year we have made this competition part of our second year students’ course, and they are loving it,” said DUT lecturer Helen Smith.


“It forms a major part of their curriculum and it is the only major competition they will be entering, while our third years work towards the SA Fashion Week competition.

Last year the top three in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award were all from DUT, “and that serves to fuel the fire in the second years!” Smith added.

More information can be found at

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