Meet the 2014 ELLE Rising Star Design Award finalists


The finalists have been chosen and the heat is on for the 2014 ELLE Rising Star Design Award! Here’s a bit of background from this year’s judges as well as a round up of each entrant:

Emilie Gambade, ELLE Editor:
“Judging the applications is an incredibly inspiring process, paging through the storyboards, the selection of fabric swatches and the technical sketches, but it’s also a serious and a difficult one as we were looking for the crème de la crème of fashion design on the continent. For the first time, we received entries from outside of South Africa and while none of them made it to the final selection, it’s our fervent desire to embrace more African entries in 2015. The 7 finalists stood out because of their uniqueness and the care, passion and relevance that were evident in their storyboards; we are now looking forward to see how this translates into garments and flourishing careers.”

Jackie Burger, Style curator and fashion consultant:
“The 2014 finalists represent the new generation of designers with a unified modernist vision, a focused confidence and definitive design signature.”

Joanne Frederic, Mr Price Trend Director:
“The brief for 2014 allowed the entrants the freedom to create their own ranges that are a reflection of their design aesthetic and what they want to stand for as a brand in the fashion industry. There were several strong standouts displaying creativity and a strong technical knowledge. These storyboards left us at a loss for words and counting down the days to seeing their vision on paper become a reality on the ramp – truly exciting.”

And here are the 7 finalists:

1. Kelli Botha, Cape Town
Collection: The androgynousinside
Rationale: “My collection is inspired by the androgynous aesthetic. My work is a combination of masculine and feminine. I have played with different textures and big versus small silhouettes. My personal taste that is for less rather than more, negative space and a less feminine approach all came together as a strong concept.”

2. Frances Pauls, Cape Town
Collection: Modern Eclectic
Rationale: “I spent a great deal of my childhood exploring the South African and African coastline. I am inspired by the soft faded sun-kissed colours that we find above the water’s surface; the soft tones of the sand, sun-bleached sarongs and faded wood paint and how these tones are contrasted by the bright luminescent underwater life with their naturally graphic colours.”

3. Jeandri Britz, Paarl
Collection: Solid Exterior
Rationale: “Solid Exterior represents a strong personality. The way someone will put up their guard and let others only see the idea of that person, but still give you the idea of vulnerability that can only be overcome by the suppression of their own emotions. The silhouette resembles characteristics of a shell, whether it an eggshell or the fragile skin of a creature. It is what protects our bodies as a hiding place for your own emotions.”

4. Charis Dawson, Cape Town
Collection: Digital Opacity
Rationale: “I’m fascinated by the obsession with social media and thought it would be interesting to interpret this obsession in a collection. The range is inspired by streetstyle and the layering of websites. I’ve been inspired by pixels, tiny elements that in their millions allow our fixation of digital media, and for this reason the collection draws on very square and linear shapes – boxy silhouettes, square panel lines – and pairs it with transparent layering.”

5. Tamara Cherie Dyson, Cape Town
Collection: Geometrics
Rationale: “My womenswear collection showcases discreet indulgence, carefully considered design, an underlying minimalistic approach, and a flawless aesthetic – a balanced sense of beauty emerges through simple perfection. Influenced by the line, shape and form of Bahaus architectural design, stark linear shapes contrasted with fluid, curved lines flow throughout the range in striking and subtle ways.”

6. Michelle van der Westhuizen, Cape Town
Collection: Coast-to-Coast
Rationale: “Coast-to-Coast is based on my love for the ocean and my hometown coastline. My inspiration is drawn from fishermen. I was inspired by their workwear comprising staple elements like aprons and parkas where I replicated the aprons used for cleaning fish in their pinafore styling. The grey Melton reflects the decayed worn quality of their clothes. The collection comprises several staple articles of clothing made of natural fibers and natural textures.”

7. Nadia Viljoen, Pretoria
Collection: Unfortunate Art by Natsie
Rationale: “My inspiration for this collection and my future label comes from illegal art, which I refer to as unfortunate art for it doesn’t get the full appreciation, attention, exposure and understanding it deserves. I see this as an opportunity to give some recognition to art such as graffiti that is usually only been seen by a handful of people before it is covered with paint.”

If you want to stay in the loop with this year’s awards, follow hashtag: #RisingStarAfrica2014 as well as @mrpfashion, @ellemagazinesa, and @afi_sa on Twitter and visit the ELLE website to watch the ELLE Rising Star Design Award 2014 journey unfold.

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