Wednesday, 29 February 2012


For the first time a collective of Durban designers will be showing at Joburg Fashion Week

Sponsored by the KZN Fashion Council (KZNFC) four designers will be bringing a Durban spirit to the Highveld. These include Karen Monk Klijnstra, Genna-Wae Webster, Kathrin Kidger and Siyathema Ngwenya.

Founded by the eThekwini Municipality's Economic Development Unit and the KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism the KZN Fashion Council aims to encourage designers to be sustainable, competitive and to be able to compete globally and nationally.

According to Jasmine Sultan, the programme director responsible for the operational management of the KZNFC, it was a strategy that as part of the KZNFC Market Access programme,  designers should be afforded an opportunity to showcase and as such MBJFW would be a good platform to show the calibre, quality and excellence of the DBN designers.

“In November 2011, a sub committee was established,” she explains. “This was made up of representation from government - the Ethekwini Municipality  (Economic Development Unit) and KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism, myself and 2 members of the KZNFC Board - Gary Halfpenny and Greg Wallis who are industry experts and very well respected (Greg is also the chairperson of the KZNFC).

“An open call for applications was advertised in the media, CV's were shortlisted and then shortlisted candidates were invited to interviews - they presented garments, storyboards, and their business profile to the commmittee.

“They were also asked a set of standard questions. The committee then agreed on the selection of the 4 designers. I must add that after selection, these designers have been coached and mentored throughout the entire process - from a technical and business side by the sub-committee. So there has been ongoing progress meetings and feedback sessions.”

According to Monk Kljnstra, this initiative ensures that each designer has taken the process very seriously and that the collection that will be shown on the catwalk is immediately market ready.

“We have been assisted right from the start,” says the designer, “And it’s imperative that the collections are 70/30 split commercially.”

She adds that the show will bring a 100% Durban spirit – including their own hairdresser (!) and a selection of Durban celebrities.

“Without giving too much away my collection is a futuristic take on Zulu culture with a bit of Frieda Kahlo thrown in,” she says. “A Zulu Frieda!”

Genna Wae Webster's range, from her label Wae West, is about feeling comfortable and sexy in your lingerie. Genna-Wae Webster wants to bring back an air of mystery into society. No more wearing tanks and tees to bed. Beautiful slips and knickers, is the best reason to dress in lingerie. It’s all about layers. Garments are manufactured from high quality stretch satins, sleek wet looks, slinky meshes, romantic laces and breezy chiffons mostly

Siyethemba Ngwenya presents a men’s wear collection where shape and structure is critical to provide the perfect fit. The design is fresh and edgy. Slim fit pants and a dropped crutch provide a baggy look, while tapered at the bottom. Matt fabrics that include lanvins, meltons and cottons are key, while heavyweight denims are specifically washed to provide the right effect

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