Noni Gasa bursary searching for aspiring fashion designers

Noni Gasa
Noni Gasa
Image: Supplied

Calling all creative South African individuals between the ages of 18 and 30;  a great opportunity at the Design Academy of Fashion awaits.

Noni Gasa, a South African fashion and media personality, is looking for an aspirant designer who will be the beneficiary of the bursary and study fashion design through the Design Academy of Fashion.

The effervescent beauty was on a tight schedule with back-to-back interviews and a flight to catch back to Cape Town, she however made time for a chat with SowetanLIVE.

We’re seated at a small eatery in Linden, Johannesburg, after she’s just had a television interview.

"I think it’s a new dawn for African fashion, we certainly feel that something exciting is happening, you can feel it in the air. Really, there’s a deeply held optimism about where we’re going and our potential to play in the global mainstream,”  says Noni Gasa. 

She’s right about African fashion. The industry has been the most visible, especially for South Africans in the last few months. 

Thebe Magugu just won the LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) prize and Rich Mnisi just won the Emerging Designer of the Year at the Essence Best in Black Fashion awards. It’s great to see local designers do great.

“I think it kick-started in December with Beyonce wearing our African designers during her Global Citizen tour, it then continued with Nicholas Hlobo redesigning the Louis Vuitton Capucine bag, Laduma [Ngxokolo] showing at Fashion Week…it’s been an incredible year…”  she says.

“I’m looking for someone who is more than just a designer, in fact you do not need previous design experience but I’m looking for someone who is inspired by the world… someone who is looking to art, music, dance, architecture… what informs their passion for fashion and their interest to design.  So I’m looking for someone who is well-rounded and both interesting and interested,” she says.

Gasa’s school has made history as the only Southern African schools to be picked as one of the GUCCI feeder schools. This means that one third-year student stands a chance to take part in a year-long internship at the Palazzo Alberini in Rome, Italy, the design headquarters for GUCCI.  

“I also think our school’s partnership with Gucci really couldn’t have come at a more significant moment in history,” explains Gasa, who is a director and co-owner at DAF.

She’s hoping that one of the beneficiaries from the Noni Gasa bursary can be one of those chosen to intern at Gucci.  

“Three years from now, I would like it to be one of the beneficiaries from the Noni Gasa bursary, that has something to offer the world. Someone with their own nuanced expression of what African design is and of what that aesthetic is and how it should be palatable to people all over the world. If Gucci can sell us the best of Italian design, we also need to sell the best of African design,” she says. 

The Project Runway South Africa judge also spoke about how it’s time to change the way fashion designers are taught. 

“Fashion design students now need to focus on the fact that they’re not likely to be employed, they’re likely to be business owners, and that needs a whole lot of  support and now we need to groom a whole generation of business owners, very different to the type of education that you would provide to an economy or workforce that is employed,” she adds.  

In addition to the bursary covering tuition fees, the beneficiary of the bursary will receive money for accommodation, transport and unlimited mobile data amongst many other benefits. Prospective students can apply online at www.designacademyoffashion.com

Applications close on  October 30 2019.

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