The ELLE Rising Star Design Award 2014 in association with MRP and presented by AFI is in full swing and with the first round of judging under our belts we are proud to announce our 2014 finalists and their collections here!
ELLE’s editor, Emilie Gambade shares:
‘Judging the applications is an incredibly inspiring process, paging through the storyboards, the selection of fabric swatches and the technical sketches, but it’s also a serious and a difficult one as we were looking for the crème de la crème of fashion design on the continent. For the first time, we received entries from outside of South Africa and, while none of them made it to the final selection, it’s our fervent desire to embrace more African entries in 2015.
The seven finalists stood out because of their uniqueness and the care, passion and relevance that were evident in their storyboards; we are now looking forward to see how this translates into garments and flourishing careers.’
Collection title: Unfortunate Artby Natsie
‘My inspiration for this collection and future label comes from illegal art. I refer to illegal art as unfortunate art, because it doesn’t get the full appreciation, attention, exposure and understanding it deserves. I see this as an opportunity to give some recognition to art like graffiti, which would have only been seen by a handful of people before it is then covered with paint.
The garment shapes are clean and pure with a touch of drapery, with some pieces of the artwork printed on selected fabrics. Another key part of the collection is the play of technic elements such as the use of sheer fabrics in juxtaposition with firm fabrics. For this collection I plan to use fabrics like scuba, ottoman, silky chiffon, suede, twill, viscose lycra, chiffon silk, velt and ponti. I will be experimenting with different textile techniques such as digital printing, dip dyeing, hand painting, laser cutting and spray painting.’
Cape Town, Western Cape
Collection title: Modern Eclectic
‘I spent a great deal of my childhood exploring the South African and African coastline. I am inspired by the soft and faded, sun-kissed colours that we find above the water’s surface, the soft tones of the sand, sun-bleached sarongs and faded wood paint, and how these tones are contrasted by the bright luminescent underwater life with its naturally graphic colour-blocked panels. In the collection I experiment with fading hand-selected Isishweshwe prints, bringing them down to more pastel washed-out tones that are quite unexpected for this textile. Inspired by these prints I then designed my own patterns that I silk-screened myself onto fine silk as well as laser cut into satin, resulting in an eclectic mix of prints and colours. I want this collection to tell the Modern Eclectic African tale, one that speaks of our heritage and the beauty of our oceans, but combines it with a sophisticated sports luxe aesthetic. With its clean lines, bold use of print and colour and elegant sporty feel, this collection sums up my aesthetic as a designer perfectly.’
Cape Town, Western Cape
Collection title: Coast-to-Coast
‘Coast-to-Coast is based on my love for the ocean and my hometown coastline. My inspiration is drawn from the fisher folk. A quote from Storm Jameson is of relevance: “The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.” I was inspired by the fisher-folk work wear comprising staple elements like their aprons and parkas, and I replicated the aprons used for cleaning fish in the pinafore styling. The grey Melton used reflects the decayed vintage quality of their clothes. The collection comprises several staple articles of clothing made of natural fibres and natural textures.’
Cape Town, Western Cape
Collection title: The androgynousinside
‘My collection is inspired by the androgynous aesthetic. My work is a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. I have played with different textures and big versus small silhouettes. My personal taste of less is more, negative space, and a less-feminine approach all came together as a strong concept in the design of my range. A quote by Robert Greene captures where my collection and designs stem from: “In a society where the roles everyone plays are obvious, the refusal to conform to any standard will excite interest. Be masculine and feminine, impudent and charming, subtle and outrageous. Let other people worry about being socially acceptable; those types are a dime a dozen, and you are after a power greater than they can imagine.”’
Paarl, South Africa
Collection title: Solid Exterior
‘Solid Exterior presents the feeling of a strong personality. The way someone will put up their guard and let others only see the idea of that person, but still give you the idea of vulnerability, that can only be overcome by suppression of their own emotions. The silhouette resembles characteristics of a shell, whether it is a shell of an egg or the fragile skin of a creature. It is what protects our bodies as a hiding place for our own emotions. I experimented with contrasting fabrics, working with tough yet see-through materials that hides the body as a soft shield.’
Cape Town, South Africa
Collection title: Digital Opacity
‘I’ve been fascinated for a while with the obsession with social media, and thought it would be interesting to interpret the obsession into a collection. The range is inspired by street style and the layering of websites. I’ve been inspired by pixels, the tiny elements which in their millions allow our fixation of digital media, and for this reason the collection draws on very square and linear shapes – boxy silhouettes, square panel lines, paired it with transparent layering. I’ve also included a lot of digital printing, creating a print that appears like a holographic hashtag, as well as dyeing to create custom-made fabrications.’
I’m quite a kooky character, and my label Wilton Dawson, reflects that. The label’s aesthetic can be described as romantically dystopian – combining a futuristic mood with softer, quirkier elements.’
Cape Town, Western Cape
‘My womenswear collection showcases discreet indulgence, carefully considered design, an underlying minimalistic approach, and a flawless aesthetic – a balanced sense of beauty emerges through simple perfection.
Influenced by line, shape and form of Bauhaus architectural design, stark linear shapes contrasted with fluid, curved lines flow throughout the range in both striking and subtle ways. I have used predominently natural fabrics featuring understated textural contrasts, such as percale, silk organza and merino wool; together with meticulous attention to detail and finishing, this creates a wardrobe of luxurious garments and layered surfaces, highlighting the high-end mood.
Stripped back and designed with a modern edge, the Geometrics collection displays perfect control and balance between the fundamental design elements.’
Love what you see? MRP’s trend director and Rising Star judge, Joanne Frédéric says:
‘The brief for 2014 allowed the entrants the freedom to create their own ranges that are a reflection of their design aesthetic and what they want to stand for as a brand in the fashion industry. There were several strong standouts displaying creativity and a strong technical knowledge. These storyboards left us at a loss for words and counting down the days to seeing their vision on paper become reality on the ramp – truly exciting.’
Want more #RisingStarAfrica2014? Meet there judging panel here and watch elle.co.za next week – www.Elle.co.za
Tags: Charis Dawson, Elle Rising Star Award 2014, Emilie Gambade, Frances Pauls, Jeandri Britz, Joanne Frederic, Kelli Botha, Michelle Van Der Westhuizen, Nadia Viljoen, Tamara Cherie Dyson