Chairperson of the Economic Development and Planning Committee Councillor Thembo Ntuli was impressed with the work of Durban Fashion Fair mentees.
THE amazing work being produced by 27 Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) mentees left Chairperson of the Economic Development and Planning Committee Councillor Thembo Ntuli in awe during a site visit on 28 July. The visit aimed to assess the work done behind the scenes before a garment is produced and sold at clothing retailers.
The visit was conducted at the training centre where the local designers are being mentored for six months. The DFF Mentorship Programme 2023 is being facilitated by Fezile Mdletshe, founder of Fezile Fashion Skills Academy. Throughout the mentorship, designers are taught about textile selection, manufacturing, brand management, costing and entering the world of retail. Mdletshe took Chairperson Ntuli and the delegation through the different stages of the programme.
Also part of the visit was SMME Development Deputy Head Nonku Mthembu and Fashion Development Programme Manager Nonhlanhla Khumalo. Councillor Ntuli was impressed with the work thus far, saying the Municipality made the right decision to invest in the Fashion Development Programme to revive the local clothing and textiles industry and position Durban as Africa’s fashion hub. “We can already see the results with over 300 fashion designers benefitting from the programme since its inception in 2012, creating more than 100 sustainable jobs.
Approximately 15 participants are now supplying major retail chain stores such as Edgars while others have opened their boutiques,” he said. As the leader of the Economic Development and Planning Committee, Councillor Ntuli said they remain committed to supporting the programme. Mdletshe said the mentees will showcase some of their collections during the September DFF which is themed ‘Shades of Liberation’ in front of buyers. “This is part of the Municipality efforts to create markets to access opportunities,” Mdletshe added that during the mentorship period, guest mentors from various fashion-related fields are invited to present to the class.