The DFF is a proudly eThekwini initiative developed to grow the fashion industry at large and to formulate employment opportunities and entrepreneurship in our city.
Scores of young designers put their names forward in November last year and 19 were chosen to take part in the programme, which includes working closely with some of the city's top fashion gurus as well as their fellow designers.
As the programme progresses, a minimum of nine aspiring designers will be eliminated from the programme until the maximum of 10 head to Milan for a first hand experience of the international world of fashion between September & November.
The interns, who range in age from 23 to 35, are all currently working in the fashion industry. Selection was based on three pillars - creativity (which was judged on story boards and garment construction) as well as business acumen (a traceable client base, business plan and business skills).
This month, two of the above 2015 mentees will join the four interns from last year who went to Milan together with invited and established designers in showcasing their creations at an exciting fashion show, hosted by Gelvenor Textiles who are currently celebrating 50 years within the textile industry.
Themed Fashion Over the Decades, this will see the interns divided into groups with each group showcasing fashion from a particular decade, starting with the swinging sixties and ending with the start of the 2000 and beyond. It will bring together the city's fashionistas as well as buyers, suppliers and industry leaders and media.
All the successful interns from last year and this year will also see their work on the ramp at the Durban Fashion Fair later this year!
According to Sindi Shangase, the Programme Manager for the Business Support Tourism and Markets Unit and who has driven the DFF since inception in 2012, the mentorship programme is intended to train enterprising young designers in all aspects of the fashion business and prepare them and their collections for the DFF and, finally, for mentorship in Milan.