The Business Support Tourism Markets Unit (BSTMU) has introduced a number of programme to grow the economy of the city.
One of its biggest success stories is undoubtedly the fashion development program which was instituted in 2012. Over the years, it has yielded positive results for both local and African designers and models.
To ensure the ongoing relevance and sustainability of the fashion development program, the BSTMU has successfully introduced new elements every year.
The most significant has been the Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) which has seen over 1800 South African, African and European designers showcase their collections to local and international fashion media, fashion buyers and consumers. The DFF has generated over R100 million worth of Public Relations value during its lifetime.
Because many good young designers often lack strong business skills, the unit also decided to implement the DFF Mentorship Programme which prepares and supports young fashion entrepreneurs who are committed to building lifelong careers within this highly challenging industry.
Looking to downstream career options closely related to fashion design, they went on to introduce the new face search which focuses on creating opportunities for young people who would not have ordinarily been able to pursue modelling careers. This entails scouting for new and aspiring talents and training them via a 2-month boot camp. Many are included in the DFF model pool and go on to join professional model agencies.
Other programmes that have been incorporated into the DFF include an international internship programme (Milan, Italy) and the creation of the DFF Emporium, a retail space that sells clothing supplied by designers affiliated to the fashion development program.