Winners of regional AFI Fastrack™ programme announced at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg
16 March 2016 – African Fashion International (AFI), the powerhouse behind Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, has announced the winners of its Fastrack™ programme following the March 2016 fashion extravaganza at Nelson Mandela Square.
The winners of the Joburg Autumn/Winter Fastrack™ programme are Velly Maswanganye, Sibusiso ‘Buda’ Malete, Chesney Williams, and Tayla Shan Nguskos.
“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.
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.
African Fashion International (AFI) presents African fashion and creative talent in a manner that makes fashion from the continent globally relevant and ensures that the world has market access to African product and design. Through the organisation’s promotion, curation and support services, AFI ensures that the international community responds positively and commercially to African-designed products that are readily available, unique and on-trend.
Through Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town and AFI Fashion Week Africa, AFI opens up the continent to commercial projects, both locally and internationally, increasing the geographic spread and market access to the continent’s design equity, fashion apparel, accessories and crafts.
AFI showcases the best designers from the continent, offering them access to the domestic and international market share, while also growing a platform designed to support the sustainability of the African fashion industry through job creation. AFI also remains committed to growing a new legion of designers through its AFI Fastrack™ and Next Generation programmes.