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The FP&M SETA 22nd Annual Vukani Fashion Awards 2016

Posted November 21, 2016 by myjoburg in My Joburg

The date has been set, the venue has been confirmed and the nationwide search for the 22 finalists is over. It is time to choose the winners in the 22nd Annual Vukani! Fashion Awards, Vukani! Fashion Awards is an annual project put together by the South African Fashion Designers Agency (SAFDA), which is under the directorship of Mr. Sonwabile Ndamase. This endeavour involves a national industry search for the latest up-and-coming designers who are aspiring to be professionals in fashion. Thus, it provides an enabling opportunity for emerging young designers who have either been in the industry for a short while or contemplate penetrating it and also those who need to take their careers to a higher level.

The project will culminate in the star-studded VUKANI! FASHION AWARDS ceremony on 26th November in Junction Mall. The inspiration for the 2016 theme came from 21st years of our Democracy; out of that, designers were tasked to create designs incorporating elements of the country’s historical background along African cultural influence for the 22nd Annual Vukani! Fashion Awards. This inspiration also intrigued the founder of the awards, Sonwabile Ndamase to find out what many international curators and critics demonstrate about the unique voices that South Africa brings to the world. By tapping into international designers; African designers from across the African diaspora, he seeks to address that curiosity. Part of the global appeal of contemporary South African design is that it’s unfettered, imaginative and energetic. In the established world of collectible design, South Africa has something very new to say, yet to be reckoned and cherished.

Ndamase reveals that he is very “passionate about improving indigenous fashion in South Africa and passionate about these awards.” To him, the awards are a means to stimulate the creation of innovative fashion that reflects African cultures, while exposing and promoting great African talent.
Moreover, he emphasises that his dream had been to reposition the awards as a training and education platform that would provide possibilities to promising South African designers, through collaborations with FP&M Seta. Ndamase strongly emphasises that FP&M Seta is a powerful enabler in the industry from which many South Africans can develop and become competent entrepreneurs in the fashion industry and help to reposition the society within the international fashion industry.

He bursts, “How can the local “voice” be better heard, particularly for local audiences? Create a collection for South Africans who are stepping up to conquer the world yet are unshaken in their South African identity. “
Then, calmly reveals that, after all the entries were received, the adjudication process whittled them down to 9 finalists. These finalists had to demonstrate exceptional design talent and also have an understanding of what it would take to make it professionally in the design industry.

From that, Ndamase claims that, “I am thrilled with the calibre of designers we have this year. Year on year this project produces better entrants which can only be a positive reflection on the industry”.

As this is a national competition the finalists come from all over the country. However, the selection is based on merit and therefore not all the provinces will necessarily be represented.

The awards are a symbol of true commitment to ensuring that designers from all walks of life in South Africa, access the opportunity to develop and market their skills through a platform that would ordinarily not be available for emerging and young fashion entrepreneurs.

During the main event’s the designers’ storyboards will be showcased – brought to life by professional models. The top 3 designers will be chosen in the categories of: Most Innovative Designer, Best High Fashion Design/National Costume and Best Collection/Ready to Wear.

The designer who takes home the prestigious Best Collection/Ready to Wear title will be the overall national winner. The prizes for the top 3 winners include cash and bursaries to help new and emerging designers on the path to success.

The Vukani! Fashion Awards, now in its 22nd year, is South Africa’s premier platform for the empowerment of our country’s young and emerging designers.

Every year, this gala event is about awarding a highly esteemed AFRICAN PRIDE AWARD to an individual that epitomises African excellence and identity. It has honoured luminaries including former President Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makeba, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Bubbles Mpondo, Pan African Parliament President Dr. Gertrude Mongella, and Stella Obesanjo in the past. It has also recognised and honoured Brigalia Bam for her dedication in improving the rights of women across the African continent. The African Pride Award is an event through which we promote an indigenous and afro-centric expression using some of the continent’s role models.

The fashion industry is being forced to restructure itself to meet the challenges it faces due to the global economic crisis. The Italian fashion industry has asked for help from the government. The Indian government is introducing an export incentive for its textile sector and even China is facing difficulty in its clothing and fashion industry sector. However, putting aside the rhetoric of saving jobs and how important the creative industry is for development, the South African government is yet to do more for the clothing, textile and fashion sector. Trade experts and economists have responded to the government’s efforts to the economic crisis as futile. From this, opportunities for established designers to take heed of what is taking place globally and adapt their business strategies accordingly can be reckoned. For students of fashion this is an ideal opportunity to learn how established designers are coping, what restructuring strategies they used and to learn from their shortcomings.


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