Chesney Williams Collection
A handful of South Africa’s top emerging designers were selected to showcase their fashion flairs after African Fashion International (AFI) announced the winners of the Fastrack™ programme at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg held at Nelson Mandela Square. Through the organisation’s promotion, curation and support services, the programme develops evolving designers who use their talent to create their interpretations of fashion.
The four fledgling creatives – Velly Maswanganye, Sibusiso ‘Buda’Malete, Chesney Williams and Tayla Shan Nguskos – were chosen and will be paired with SA’s top designers for a four-month mentorship programme where they will learn about:
- the fashion design process;
- trend forecasting;
- merchandising; and
- gain a deeper understanding of consumer demand.
The womenswear collection by Chesney Williams make bold statements with geometric shapes in burnt orange, black and cream, complemented with varying textures by playing with natural fibers such as leather and pure cotton in the form of crochet.
“The Fastrack™ event is always a highlight of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, with 10 young designers given the opportunity to reveal their passion for fashion to the country’s most critical audiences,” says Caileigh Davis, AFI Fastrack™ and Nextgen Programme Manager at AFI. “Emerging as one of the four Fastrack™ winners after the show is a remarkable achievement that catapults young talent from obscurity into the limelight, poising future trendsetters on the cusp of greatness.”
Fastrack™ is an initiative that identifies and fosters the most promising design talent on the African continent. AFI welcomes applications from young designers, whether they are design-school graduates or not, from across the continent at the start of the annual AFI Fastrack™ programme, with submissions being judged by an expert panel at each stage of the programme.
The menswear collection presented by Velly Maswanganye in hues of green offered a unique take on a military yet functional style that can ease into any man’s wardrobe.
Ten finalists are chosen from among the submissions, each tasked with designing a collection to take to the runway during a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Four winners are chosen from each show, after which they are paired with a well-established designer in a four-month mentorship programme.
During this time the young designers will learn more about the fashion design process, and gain a deeper understanding of consumer demand, trend forecasting and merchandising. They will also learn more about the costing process as well as wholesale and retail pricing strategies, and gain a basic understanding of marketing and brand amplification. Being exposed to basic business management skills like stock control, supplier contracts and basic business practices will add to their priceless toolkit, along with an understanding of in-house and outsourced production and quality control.
“This close alliance with an experienced designer as they enter the business side of the world of fashion exposes the young designers to the realities of the fashion industry, equipping them with the skills that they need to be entrepreneurs, visionaries and people-managers, all while they’re balancing
the budget,” says Davis. “The programme provides the essential platform to
build so much more than a career in fashion: it equips young talent with the skills that they need to create a successful business.”
“We have already seen a number of previous Fastrack™ winners like Tuelo Nguyuza, Eleni Labrou and Khothatso Tsotsetsi prove their mettle after being a part of the Fastrack™ programme, and we look forward to seeing great things from the Fastrack™ winners announced at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg 2016,” Davis adds.