Young, fresh designs

THE 15 Gauteng semifinalists in the prestigious Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award have been made known. They were named at a function held at Vodaworld in Randburg, Johannesburg.

Tasked with selecting one student designer to represent the region at the national finals in Durban in six weeks' time, the panel of judges were spearheaded by designers Terrence Bray and David Tlale. The judges were brutal and unforgiving, but also heaped praise on the exceptional entries.

The students, representing fashion colleges in Johannesburg, Tshwane, the Vaal and North West, presented their race-day garments based on the theme "Its a Blooming Great Day". And then they held their breath as the judges scrutinised their designs.

The nervous students relished the designers' in-depth analysis of each of the garments entered. The designers often enthusiastically helped adjust the garments to avoid fashion faux pas.

The judges agonised over their decision, short-listing the 15 designers to three before choosing Lisof student Eldelene Marais.

The innovative and feisty design, complete with delicate handmade flowers on the shoulders, earned Marais R2000.

"The top three garments were exceptional. They were fresh, original and fashion forward and quite unlike anything we have seen in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town or Bloemfontein," Tlale said.

The overall winner will receive a R10000 cash prize from Vodacom, a trip to the 2011 London Graduate Fashion Week, as well as a piece of jewellery worth R30000 from Mark Gold Jewels.

The college or university the winner is enrolled at will win a R30000 bursary from Vodacom that can either be used for bursaries for deserving students or for the purchase of equipment to assist fashion design students.

The Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday, July 31.