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Fashion Challenge finalists reign supreme

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Durban - Ten designers reign supreme in the semi-finals of the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge, after an elite panel of judges spent an arduous afternoon examining storyboard entries in the nationally run competition.

The recognised panel of judges included Durban designer Kathrin Kidger, journalist Terence Pillay, Gold Circle's Monica Holman and fashion programme director Tiffany Prior.

Designers were asked to design an ensemble, which included a hat and accessories relevant to the theme "A Right Royal Affair", which was stylish, fashionable and encompassed the spirit of one of South Africa's most prestigious events, the Vodacom Durban July.

Judges were impressed with the standard of entries received for this year's competition and were relieved to see the designers had not taken the theme too literally, often a major concern for the judging panel.

"The designers' use of fabrication and technical drawings has been outstanding," said Kidger.

"It's rewarding to see familiar entries returning year after year and to be in the position to see them grow as designers, which is evident in their storyboards and final garments," added Prior.

Varied interpretations of the theme were evident in the storyboards, with many  making use of exaggerated fabrication and design elements from traditional royal garments.

Finalist Hanrie Lues was all smiles after hearing she had been selected as a finalist, now her seventh consecutive year as a Fashion Challenge finalist.

"I'm so excited! Maybe seventh time lucky!" said Lues, who has recently relocated to Durban. "I love this year's theme as it allowed me to really be myself and put my all into my design."

Finalist Jane Wolff and winner of the 2010 Vodacom Durban July Classic Racewear competition explained that it was fantastic to be involved in this year's Fashion Challenge, after having entered the Young Designer Award for the past three years.

"I feel like this competition is more mature and allows designers to go in a more avant garde direction which is perfect for me!" said Wolff.

"The Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge has become a beloved competition in the eyes of many designers, as it gives them a voice in their first years of their career," said Prior.Final judging will take place on 17 June at the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Showcase in Durban. The winner will only be announced on raceday and will walk away with R5000 in cash and many more lavish prizes still under consideration.

The 115th running of the Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 2 July.

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