FABULOUS & FASHIONABLE describes the 2022 Class of Durban Fashion Fair mentorship designers gearing up for their “fashion journey” – here they are together with Fezile Mdletshe, Managing Director and Founder of the Fezile Fashion Skills Academy and Nondumiso Mthembu from the City’s Business Support, Tourism, Market and Agri-Business Unit (Seated in the centre)

What is the “Business of Fashion”? These young designer hopefuls are eager to learn the answer to this question at the 11th installment of the Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) Mentorship Programme which commenced last week. This is a proudly eThekwini Municipality initiative developed to grow the fashion industry in the City, as well as create a platform for employment and entrepreneurship.
Hundreds of young designers put their names forward at the beginning of the year and 23 were chosen to take part in the programme, which includes working closely with some of the City’s fashion gurus.
The mentees are all currently working in the fashion industry and were selected based on three pillars – creativity (which was judged by their story boards), garment construction as well as business acumen (a traceable client base, business plan and business skills).
Most of these interns will also see their work on the ramp at the Durban Fashion Fair later this year between 21 and 24 September at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre. This is where several of the aspiring designers will showcase their garments for the first time.

EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said the aim of the mentorship programme is to train enterprising young designers in all aspects of the fashion business and prepare them for the DFF as well as to encourage self-employment by sharpening designer’s skills so they in turn create employment for others.

Programme mentor, Fezile Mdletshe and her team will not only guide these mentees on orientation and textile selection, but will provide valuable information on manufacturing, brand management, costing and entering the world of retail. Throughout the programme, guest mentors within the fashion industry will present to the class.
As part of the programme, the mentees are provided different design briefs and assignments each week where they work in teams, and critique each other’s work. They are also taught to design collections.
The designers will also be taught how to run their own successful businesses. When the programme concludes, three of these intern designers will receive a recognition award during the Durban Fashion Fair Awards on September 24.
Catch all the fashion news from the #DFF2022 on the Facebook page: DurbanFashionFair or on Twitter / Instagram @Dbnfashion_fair – #madeindurban / #supportlocal
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit. For media enquiries, contact the Municipal Spokesman, Msawakhe Mayisela on 060 966 4220.