TWO EMERGING VUT FASHION DESIGNERS LEAVES A MARK AT A NATIONAL STUDENT COMPETITION
By: Qhawekazi Memani – 01 November 2022
Kgomotso, Precious, Nelson Mandela University representatives with Gert Johan Coetzee
Two emerging fashion designers from the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), Precious Sibiya and Kgomotso Mothiba, strut their creations and proved their mettle at the most sought after ‘Dress Your Style Bernina Competition.’
Out of the more than hundred entries submitted from eight South African tertiary institutions, outfits by the two VUT’s Advanced Diploma in Fashion students made it to the Top 5 at this year’s instalment under the theme: Y2K Fashion.
Following the Top 5 selection, the duo proceeded to the final ‘National Champion Sew Off’ leg of this competition held in Melville in Johannesburg, where they competed with other fashion designers from different institutions under the theme ‘Futuristic Fashion.’
Although neither Precious nor Kgomotso clinched the title to walk away with the ultimate prize of a Bernina over-locker and straight stitch machine valued at R98 000.00, the two said the competition was a great learning curve for them. They added that they also got to draw the much-needed inspiration from well-known fashion designer, Gert Johan Coetzee who was hands on in selecting the best outfits.
Precious, who hails from Mangweni, a village in Mpumalanga, said for her, the competition was not all about winning but getting exposure and positioning oneself within the broader industry. She added that she also discovered some of her strengths and weaknesses in the craft and realised that she wants to be a businesswoman in the fashion industry and enjoys drawing fashion illustrations. For someone who first encountered fashion at an early age, learning from her mother who was a seamstress, this is not farfetched, and the sky is bound to her limit and the world, her oyster. That experience is what inspired and encouraged her to study fashion design.
For Kgomotso, the competition was a bit challenging, “quite hectic, but manageable, she said, and described it as an amazing and an eye-opening experience. “I learnt to work harder and faster, and that whatever I put my mind to I can achieve. It’s crazy how being under pressure can be helpful to pushing you into the right direction. I came back motivated, inspired and with a mind shift – I am different now but better and very grateful for the opportunity,” she said. For Kgomotso, who was born and raised in Johannesburg, her passion for fashion was inspired by the likes of Rich Mnisi and Dr David Tlale, a VUT Alumni whose work is recognised nationally and internationally. “Their work stands out from the crowds. David challenges the clichés and predictions and that is so inspiring,” she said.
The VUT community is proud of you – better luck next time.