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DFF mentorship gets underway for new fashion recruits
The successful Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) Mentorship Programme which forms part of the City’s Fashion Development Programme is underway at the Fezile Fashion Skills Academy (FFSA) in KwaMashu.
 
The 2021 DFF Mentorship theory classes began in June and has progressed to the practical stage which sees the transferring of skills to the 21 participants. This will help the emerging designers take their space in the world of fashion.
 
Fezile Mdletshe from FFSA is facilitating the six-month training programme. She said they are keeping in line with key topics including garment construction, technical drawing and pattern technology. They are also discussing business in fashion to fully prepare participants to run their own successful brands.
 
Mdletshe said the group, while very well trained, didn’t fully understand the business aspect of fashion.

“The main focus over the past few weeks has been around funding application, social media etiquette, business plans and the importance of planning as well as business money management, accounting and marketing and brand positioning.”
 
She said the focus of this year’s curriculum is on building designers as brands for them to have an international presence with an African aesthetic.
 
“Currently their task is to create a pin board to mentally envision the customers they would like to attract. They have also deleted and re-created all their social media profiles in order to be market ready. For the next few months, we will be rebuilding and building on their brands and design aesthetic.”
 
Mdletshe said the goal is to ensure the designers are retail ready.

 “An accountant has been invited to educate the designers on money matters and an attorney to explain contractual and legal matters on how designers can protect themselves and their businesses. We will also educate them on the importance of having a media brand presence.”
 
Thembeka Mathonsi said the mentorship programme is a great learning experience as a self-taught designer, her understanding of fashion and the industry has changed.

“The training has ignited so much creativity in me. I am excited about taking my business forward,” she said.
 
Small, Medium and Micro Enterpises Deputy Head in eThekwini Municipality Nonku Mthembu said the mentorship programme, which has been running for nine years, assists aspiring designers launch their careers in the fashion industry and build highly competitive brands.
 
 
 
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