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Free State semi-finalists named for Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award

Friday, 29 April 2011

Durban - Free State fashion design students basked in the limelight at the regional judging of the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award storyboards which left an elite panel of judges in awe of the young talent emerging from the region.

The lavish assortment of storyboards received from design technikons, colleges and universities across the Free State region exceeded all expectations as designers gracefully tackled this year's Vodacom Durban July theme "A Right Royal Affair."

The high-powered panel of judges, which included top designers Kathrin Kidger, Terrence Bray and Sibu Msimang, Gold Circle's Monica Holman and Fashion Programme Director Tiffany Prior, shortlisted the semi-finalists from the huge submission of storyboards entered in each of the five regions competing in the 2011 competition.

This year's theme has allowed for many royal threads with students interpretations ranging from Ice, Karoo and Ethnic Queens to a more detailed approach with rich fabrication and luxurious detail and design.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing these designs made up," said Prior. "I love visiting Bloemfontein as the students from the Free State always seem to surprise me!"

The 2010 overall winner Sheena Unwin, now based in Cape Town working with designer Craig Port, recalls her memories of winning last year's Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award.

"Taking part in this competition was great for my portfolio as well as a fantastic confidence booster as I started to prepare my final range at tech," said Unwin.

"Not only is this competition a great platform for any young designer, but I also received plenty of media exposure which has been great for my CV," added Unwin. "I'm really looking forward to my trip to London this year as I'm sure it will be a fantastic experience."

Each student was required to design a raceday ensemble that is stylish, fashionable and encompasses the spirit of one of South Africa's most prestigious events - the Vodacom Durban July.

The finalists will be selected from the regional finals in Bloemfontein on May 26 and will go on to compete in the national finals in Durban on 15 and 17 July at Greyville Racecourse.

Each of the ten national finalists will receive R2000 in cash, compliments of Vodacom.

The overall winner will be announced on the day of the Vodacom Durban July in Durban on 2 July, and will win a prize including a five day trip to London to attend the 2012 Graduate Fashion Week, R10 000 in cash from Vodacom as well as additional prizes still under consideration.

The college represented by the winner will receive R30 000.00 from Vodacom which will be partly used as a bursary for a deserving student with the balance being used to develop resources within the college.

The fifteen semi-finalists from the Free State are:
Rolindie van Druten, Marietjie Meyburgh, Elca Jacobs, Mmuso Potsane, Elmerane Du Plessis, Liezel Butler, Thembeka Maqaqa, Lehandri Leeuwner, Rika Wessels, IIze Delport, Christina Hoffman, Melanie Grobler, Danielle Nortier, Jaynie Potgieter and Magda Stols.

The 115th running of the Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 2 July. More information can be found at


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