THE eThekwini Municipality has made it possible for ten local fashion designers to be part of a two months international fashion internship at SAE Comunicazione Integrata in Milan, Italy.
The names of the successful designers were announced at the recent fashion development breakfast at Coastlands on the Ridge Hotel. They jet off to Italy next year February.
Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala congratulated the selected designers and said, “This is part of the Municipality’s bid to revive and boost the fashion industry and the results have started showing as we now have success stories from the previous groups who attended the course.”
Shabalala said one of the fashion designers who attended the course in 2011, Kujula Mntambo of Gravity Designs, has now opened a store at uShaka Marine and is about to open another at Galleria Mall. He has managed to open employment opportunities for six people.
“It is stories like these that we want to hear because the reason we are funding this programme is to show the youth that we believe in their talent. Therefore we want them to grow and have their own businesses that will contribute in our economy, create jobs and tackle poverty,” she added.

She urged the new group going to Milan to use the opportunity wisely, build networks and learn unique trends. She said fashion is more than just clothes and glamour, but it is about business.
“Milan is one of the international fashion capitals and has been able to create a sustainable industry that has contributed over 50% to their total gross domestic product (GDP) for so many years, which is why I am sure that they will gain very useful information there,” said Shabalala.

Programme Manager, Sindi Shangase said the two months internship includes various trainings that will assist them to run successful fashion businesses. They will also get a chance to visit fashion shows and fashion fairs to study international market trends.
“They will also be offered a two weeks practical experience where they will be placed in different fashion houses based in Milan. This will help in our vision of seeing Durban as an international capital in the next five years,” added Shangase.
Shangase believes that everyone was given a chance because they advertised the internship programme via the Durban Fashion Fair website, newspapers and also used the social media.
She said they received many applications but only shortlisted thirty designers who were interviewed by the panel which was made of various fashion experts and Greg Wallis, former Chairperson of KwaZulu Natal Fashion Council.
“After the judges verified the shortlisted candidate’s work that’s where they were able to select the final ten designers,” added Shangase.
Greg Wallis, a fashion specialist who owns a clothing company urged designers to be innovative and utilize latest technology to grow their businesses, including online shopping.
“Years ago the fashion industry was one of the leading job creators in KwaZulu-Natal and this can be made possible again because we have an amazing talent in KZN. Therefore I advise the selected designers to go there to learn and not to think they are on holiday,” said Wallis.
Sibu Msimang, Jacqui Emmanuel, Sanele Cele, Thembeka Vilakazi, Nkululeko Njapha, Kayleigh Savings, Bianca Warren, Buhle Zulu, Zama Mathe are the designers set to receive training in Milan. One designer was disqualified because she did not show up in this function which is one of the requirements to show commitment.
Sibu Msimang, one of the selected designers said, “I have been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time, thank you so much to the Municipality for affording us an opportunity of becoming more creative”.

For more information please contact Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820/ 0827317456 or email: Thabo1.mofokeng@durban.gov.za.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality's Communications Unit. Contact Sane Shandu on 031 311 4806/072 572 8658 or email: Sanelisiwe.Shandu@durban.gov.za or Nonduduzo Ngcongo on 031 311 4815/ 078 13 14 618 email Nonduduzo.Ngcongo@durban.gov.za