It was a Night of Gold with fine dining and guests dressed in their finest ensembles at the recent 50th anniversary celebration of Gelvenor Textiles at the Sibaya Casino. Four years ago, eThekwini Municipality made a commitment to the development of the small business sector in the region which needed to embrace local fashion designers as well as the wider textile and clothing industry, of which they have since been an integral part. In the past, Durban was not only a respected design destination but also the mainstay of the textile and clothing sector in South Africa.

Companies such as Gelvenor Textiles had positioned themselves as trailblazers in their sector, internationally, and the sector was a repository of skills and technical know-how. The upcoming Durban Fashion Fair which takes place in August is proud to have a Fashion Development Programme that includes a mentorship programme enabling up-and coming new designers to learn from the city’s fashion gurus, as well as an international internship programme that selects 10 of these new talents for a two month long internship in the fashion capital, Milan.

The Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) itself showcases the creations of both aspiring and established designers and a new face search that “discovers” new models to participate in the shows as well as designers from across Africa and Internationally! Some of the designer mentees from the 2014 & 2015 DFF were part of this 50th anniversary celebration in the form of a fashion show ideally themed “Fashion Over the Decades”, which not only gave them a platform to showcase their work but also showed off the textiles supplied to them which was sponsored by Gelvenor Textiles.

The interns were divided into groups and asked to encapsulate the spirit of different decades within their designs – starting with the swinging sixties and ending with 2000 and Beyond. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly a special collection created by established designer and DFF Programme mentor, Terrence Bray who also used Gelvenor’s corporate colours and fabrics. “We would like to thank the people who have contributed to the success of this programme both now and over the past four years. They include our programme mentors Greg Wallis from G & D Apparel and respected Durban based designer, Terrence Bray as well Gelvenor Textiles for giving this platform to our mentees in celebrating their 50th anniversary,” said Sindi Shangase, the Programme Manager in the Municipality’s Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit who has spearheaded the DFF since its inception! For more information go to go to www.facebook.com/DurbanFashionFair