A Fashion Feast at 2016 Fashion Recognition Awards

Quintessential Durban designer, Kathrin Kidger, took home the Durban Designer of the Year Award at the vibrant Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) presented by the eThekwini Municipality at the 2016 Fashion Fair Recognition Awards which is currently celebrating five years, hosted at the Inkosi Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Saturday night. (Sept 3)

Mirroring the vivid colours, neon accents and strong African prints that characterised many of the DFF 2016 showings, Kidger translated her priorities of producing clothes locally and reflecting her southern African heritage into a captivating collection on the third night of this prestigious annual event.

Business support programme manager, Sindi Shangase, who has driven the DFF from the outset (2012) and presented many of the awards, said that the DFF Fashion Recognition Awards had been introduced last year to recognise the contribution that fashion made to the city’s economy.

Although the DFF 2016 has tackled more serious issues such as the advancement of the industry at large and the support and development of young talents and entrepreneurs, a light spin was put on the closing event by hosts SA Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo and television presenter Basetsana Kumalo.

Another big name in Durban fashion, Amanda Laird Cherry, received two awards – the Fashion Business Award and the Durban Fashion Legend Award. Celebrating 20 years in the fashion business this year, Laird Cherry has been a loyal supporter of the DFF, showing collections over a number of years.

The Collection of the Week award went to Terence Bray for his “succulent inspired” collection of both ladies and men’s wear.

Muzi Innocent Mlambo of Mita-N Dzyns took home the trophy in the category of the Next Emerging Durban Designer.

The Best Menswear Collection Award was presented to designers Eulender Cele & Samuel Mosala who go under the label of Eullue.

The Best Ladies wear Collection Award went to Diva by Brenda Quin for a show stopping collection of electric colours and bold styling.

From the outset, the DFF vision has been intended to position Durban as a truly African fashion hub. Designers from as far afield as Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria have participated in the DFF over the past three years. In line with this, the DFF created a Best African Men’s Wear Collection Award which went to Shadows by Sidumiso by Zimbabwean designer, Sidumiso Tshuma and the Best African Ladies’ Wear Collection which went to Poqua Poqu, an affordable luxury brand created by Ghanaian designer, Antoinette Poku.

The Fashion Innovator Award was handed to Tayla Horn who was also one of the top three New Generation designers in the Rising Star category along with Martin Steenkamp and Paige Garbutt. They were chosen out of 20 up and coming designers who participated in the DFF Mentorship Programme.

This year, clothing retailer Woolworths presented each of these New Generation designers with one of their RE: denim jackets, asking them to customise it. They were judged on innovation and originality, commercial value and whether the final outcome was on trend. First prize went to Martin Steenkamp, second prize to Tayla Horn and third prize to Faith Joubert.

Three years ago, the DFF introduced a model search, providing an opportunity for youngsters from disadvantaged communities to carve a modelling career for themselves, starting with the 2016 DFF. Jessi Kalambayi was named the New Face of the DFF (ladies) and Njabulo Mzobe the New Face of the DFF (men) at last night’s DFF 2016 Fashion Recognition Awards.

Shangase wrapped up in saying, “All our winners truly deserved the recognition and well done to them all, as well as my heartfelt appreciation to all who participated in making our 5th year another success!’