AALIYA RANDAREE – Known by her label AaliyaArr, Randaree has studied at the Durban University of Technology from which she graduated in 2017. She is focused, creative and a fun loving risk taker. Her designs are inspired by the creativity of street wear, with her overall style embodying simple designs and silhouettes using interesting embellishments, prints and fabrics. Embellishments of pearls and beads are a major influence in her designs right now. Her biggest achievement to date, is winning the DUT Fashion Show’s most commercial fashion range award and being 1 of the top 4 finalists for the AFI fast track programme 2018. With a family in the clothing business, Randaree knew from an early age, that she would make a career in the fashion industry. Her favourite local designer is Gavin Rajah and given the opportunity, she would most like to dress local celebrity blogger Aqeelah Haroon Ally and international blogger Dina Tokio.
ANDE GIBIXEGO – Born in Matatiele, having grown up in Ashdown, Pietermaritzburg, and now living in Durban, Ande Gibixego who designs under the label Impande by Chrisande, graduated from the Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion Design in 2017. Although he designs for a diverse audience including kids, men and women, the majority of his creations are menswear. Inspired by culture, art, religion, music, nature, architecture, movies and all things ‘human’, this designer’s work includes a touch of African art paint, some of which he creates himself, and he“plays around” with a combination of woollen and denim fabrics. His work reflects his design aesthetic and he is proud to wear his own designs. His favourite local designer is Laduma and the celebrities he would most like to dress include Somizi Mhlongo and Black Coffee. While studying at Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion, Gibixego also discovered a talent for fine art and poetry which have proved beneficial in his fashion designing and styling.
APHELELE CHONCO – Born and raised in Esikhawini, and currently based in Durban, Aphelele graduated from the DUT in 2016 and went on to begin to realise a lifelong dream of working in the fashion industry through the creation of her label Up_phelele. Although she strives to maintain a truly eclectic aesthetic, she is inspired by geometrical shapes and describes her overall style as “classic, with the intention of accentuating the female body”. Her favourite South African designer is Terrence Bray and internationally, she loves the work of Georges Chakra. She would most like to dress local actress and entrepreneur, Connie Ferguson and international celebrity Tracee Ellis Ross. She describes herself as enthusiastic, driven, opinionated, respectful and creative.
CARI ST QUENTIN – Designing under her own name – Cari St Quentin – this young designer describes herself as an introvert and a dreamer – but one that is nevertheless ambitious, persistent and creative. Born in Johannesburg, she fell in love with fashion when she was just 6 years old. After High School, St Quentin followed her passion and went on to study at the Design School Southern Africa, in Umhlanga. Her ladies wear ranges are inspired by culture and art as well as the style and personalities of unique individuals. Although she admits her style is commercial, she does not follow trends blindly and adds an edge to classic pieces. She believes the creative side of fashion is important in establishing a brand with a unique aesthetic and in bringing a new offering to the market. However, she also understands that a business foundation is essential to building a successful and sustainable brand. She would most like to dress local influencers like Aisha Baker or Lulama.
KAZADI WILSON MUKEYA – Known as Mr V in the fashion industry, Kazadi’s label is Victor Fashion Kingdom (VFK). He designs both ladies and menswear and is inspired by a wider range of everyday items including watching cartoons with his children, music , a sea view or even a painting on a wall. After studying at the Buya’s Academy of Fashion Design, Kazadi graduated in 2009. He had always wanted to be a designer and follow in the footsteps of his elder brother. He wears his own creations which he describes as classy and trendy. His favourite local designer is Mxolisi Mkhize and he follows fashion blogger Kefilwe Mabote as he appreciates her trendy accessible, yet educated approach to fashion. He describes himself as very confident, conscientious, sincere, hardworking and honest.
KHULEKANI SITHOLE & SICELINHLANHLA NGCOBO – These two designers create under the label of Black Rose, with both graduating in 2017 from the Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion Design. Khulekani Sithole learnt about the Durban Fashion Fair during lectures and decided this was an important means of furthering his career. His designs are asymmetrical and feature 18th Century Greek looks. His favourite local designer is Terence Bray and he would most like to dress celebrities Pharrell Williams and Pearl Modiadie. Sicelinhlanhla Ngcobo encompasses both ladies and menswear. Described as “avant garde wearable”, his designs are inspired by Goth’s as well as the ancient Greek silhouette and the attire of Roman Empire knights, featuring strong tailoring. The designer Ngcobo admires most is Qiuteria and George and the local and international celebrities that he would like to see wearing his designs are Nomuzi aka Musli and Janelle Monaé. Both designers are excited to be part of the 2018 mentorship programme and look forward to learning more about the business of fashion and retailing amongst other skills that would mutually benefit them in growing their brand.
MFUNDO DLAMINI – Mfundo Dlamini was born in Hluhluwe and currently lives in Hammarsdale. Known in the fashion world as Mr Scuti, he is adventurous, a dreamer, successful and funny. His label, Scuti Clothing features both ladies and menswear. Realising that he wanted a career in fashion during his school years, he is self-taught and went on to intern at Mita-N Designs. His designs are inspired by poetry, emotions, art, nature and periods in history. His style is contemporary and “street with class” and will appeal to those who are confident, carefree and love style. His favourite local designer is Gert-Johan Coetzee and he would most like to dress Nomzamo Mbatha as well as Harry Styles. He believes the 2018 mentorship workshops will improve his work and, as a self-taught designer, he is looking forward to learning pattern making and grading, and illustrating.
MNOTHO KHONOKUHLE NGEMA – Ngema designs menswear. He studied at the Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion, graduating in 2017. During his studies, he won the 2016 Designer of the Year at the academy as well as Menswear runner up at the 2017 Vodacom Durban July. He first realised his love for fashion in 2014 when he was studying mechanical engineering. Instead of studying, he would spend most of his time making and painting t-shirts and selling them to other students, and thus decided to switch his career path! Shy, hardworking, caring, creative, and strong, he is inspired by art and his own life experiences and his design style is simple and classic with dramatic detailing. He embraces trends that merge with his own personal style and is currently enjoying the colours yellow and flamboyant flame as well as timeless black and white. His favourite local designer is Mxolisi Luke Mkhize and he would most like to design for the classy and sophisticated Pearl Modiadie and Michelle Obama.
NOMUSA NXASANA – Designing under the label Val Classique, Nomusa Nxasana, designs ladies wear and dates her love for fashion back to 1998. She is inspired by class, personality (character), nature, femininity, fabric texture and “future prognostications” and describes her style as elegant, feminine, classy, sexy and spiritual. Her favourite designer is Thula Zaca of Image Collezion and would most like to dress local celebrity Somizi Mhlongo and America’s Oprah Winfrey. She describes herself as creative, spiritual, generous, passionate and as having a strong emotional intelligence.
NTHABI TSEEKE– Designing under the label of her own name, NthabiTseeke designs both ladies and menswear. She describes herself as fun, joyful and hardworking. When looking for design inspiration, she always looks internally then works her way out. Due to her belief that clothing has to be personal and because her name is her brand, where she is in her own life, her beliefs, loves and convictions are all evident in her work. Her design style is minimalistic and she loves simplicity, line work and structure. Her favourite local designer is Rich Mnisi. The long list of celebrities that she would like to dress includes Ayanda Thabethe, Manthe Ribane, Moozlie, Trevor Stuurman and Rihanna.
PEARLENE REDDY – Known simply as Pearl and designing under the label The League, this DUT student is currently completing her fashion studies. She designs women’s wear. She is inspired by practicality and believes that fashion should be effortless. Her style is also practical as well as bold, commercial and cultured. Her favourite local designer is David Tlale and she would most like to dress Shekinah and Rihanna. Pop culture recently influenced her creations and she finds reinvention very interesting and a great challenge. She is hoping that the 2018 mentorship workshops will help her to create a name for herself and assist her in establishing a recognizable brand.
PHILILE MUNGWE – Ladies wear designer Philile Mungwe, designs under the label Vallure Creations. Self-taught, she is inspired by everything around her but nature being a big part of it amongst many other experiences. Her style is simple and elegant and she enjoys creating wearable art for different individuals. Latest fashion trends that have caught her attention include the use of tulles, lace and African wax prints. The latter have influenced her designs a great deal as she loves the creative prints and colour combinations. Her favourite local designer is Khosi Nkosi and Mungwe would most like to dress international celebrity Solange and local celebrity Nandi Madida. Goal-oriented, self-motivated, talented, loving and a go-getter, Mungwe regards being elected for the 2018 mentorship programme as the realisation of a long standing dream.
PRINCE NSIBANDE –Prince Nsibande is behind Inxulumakazi Creations. Self-taught, he designs both ladies and menswear and is inspired by the diversity of local culture. His bold, colourful, dramatic and poetic style echoes the latest trends. He describes himself as a creative, sensitive, hardworking, God fearing family man. His biggest life achievement so far was being one of the delegates of Mr. Gay World Southern Africa 2017 and being the first delegate to showcase at the grand finale. Other accolades to his name include winning 1st prize in the female category for his creation at the 2017 Vodacom Durban July and coming in at 3rd place in the Ballito Pro Challenge in 2016 amongst others. Kwenzi Nkomo and Modesta are his favourite local designers and the local celebrity he would most like to dress is Lira. He is looking forward to developing his business skills and having opportunities to showcase his talent during the 2018 mentorship programme.
SBONELO SOSIBO – Sneacker includes both ladies and menswear although the latter is this designer’s main focus. Born in Bulwer but now operating from Durban, Sbonelo Sosibo studied fashion at the School of Fashion Design in Pietermaritzburg from which he graduated in 2017. Most of his designs are inspired by his past life experiences and his emotions. His philosophy is that there are no mistakes in the fashion world! Humble, fashionable, loving,crazy but also fragile, this hard worker wears his own creations which he describes as “street fashion ready to wear and crazy”. One of the emerging fashion trends – the use of plastic – is echoed in the plastic jackets in his latest collection.
SBUSISO SHOZI– Sbusiso Shozi is known by Durban fashionistas as Brownz or by his label, 4evertrendy. He studied at the LindiweKuzwayo Academy of Fashion, graduating in 2011 and designs for both men and women. Inspired by the shades and shapes of Africa, he embraces African excellence. Passionate, artistic and a Pan Africanist at heart, he regularly wears his own creations. Favourite local designers include WeverSishi and Lama, founder of Ama Xhosa designs, which is a big inspiration. The international celebrity that he would like to dress is musician Michael Bublé because he loves his style and music.
SICELO DLEZI – Born in Ulundi but now working in New Germany, happily married mother of two boys, Sicelo Dlezi is known as Yatsar Scelo, reflecting her Yatsar clothing brand. She followed her passion for fashion after resigning from the KZN Department of Health at the beginning of 2017 in order to design elegant garments for both men and women. After graduating from the Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion, she signed up at the Igoda incubator fashion links. Her inspiration comes from a wide range of influences, including nature, people’s personalities and infrastructure. Top of her local designer list is Zarth’s Zama Mathe and she would most like to dress Nomzamo Mbatha and Jennifer Lopez. She wears her own creations 90% of the time and describes herself as cheerful, strong, friendly and powerful. Her dream is to open her own factory and employ at least 50 people. She wishes to see the 2018 mentorship workshops grow her entrepreneurial, marketing and networking skills.
SINETHEMBA NDULI – Based in Pinetown, Sinethemba Nduli studied at the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion, graduating in 2017. Inspired by everything around her, she describes herself as an “every day wear designer” who incorporates latest trends such as big sleeves and off the shoulder tops and dresses into her collections. Her greatest achievement so far is being included in the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Top 25. Her favourite local designer is David Tlale and she would most like to dress Nomuzi Mabhena and Rihanna. Ambitious, emotional, creative and driven, she hopes the 2018 mentorship workshops will help her become a strong entrepreneur producing high quality clothing.
THABANI KHAWULA – Born in Newcastle and now settled in Durban, Thabani Khawula is known in the fashion world as Kingsonta in recognition of his brand, KingSonta. He studied at the Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion design, graduating in 2017. Honest, loyal, passionate and keen to learn, his biggest life achievement was graduating in 2017 and being part of the DFF Mentorship workshop programme. His style is “old school and hip” and the design that he likes most was a menswear ensemble that placed him in the top 10 at the Durban July Young Designer’s Awards 2017. His favourite local designer is Mxolisi Mkhize (House of Saint Luke) and he would most like to dress Rihanna and model Rick Riky.
XOLISWA MNGUNI – Ladies wear designer Xoliswa Mnguni was a 2017 graduate from the School of Fashion, Pietermaritzburg. She is inspired by everyday life and likes classic and romantic looks that are timeless. Her design style is classy and elegant and she creates beautiful figure-hugging outfits that accentuate a woman’s body. She mixes modern with traditional style and beading. She lists Asanda Madyibi as her favourite local designer and would most like to dress South Africa’s Enhle Mbali Maphumulo and international celebrity Gabriella Union. Latest trends like bell sleeves, lots of frills and African prints mixed with beading, are featured in her collections. She describes herself as creative and has loved fashion since the age of 11.
ZAMABHELE NTSHANGASE – Known as Belle to her compatriots in the fashion world, Ntshangase’s label, Belle Couture, caters for both men and women. Born in Port Shepstone but now based in Durban, she completed a course in media studies before studying fashion at the LindiweKuzwayo Academy of Fashion. Passionate, ambitious, influential, intellectual and experimental, her design style combines glamour with ethnic influences that define the lifestyle of her target market. Her favourite local designer is SandileMlambo (House of Alfalfa). The local and international celebrities she would love to dress are Thando Thabethe and Erika Badu.