After poring over dozens of impressive storyboard submissions, the judges have settled on ten finalists in the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge, presented by Durban Fashion.
In the month since the call for entries went out for the national competition, storyboards have been arriving at the new ICE Models HQ in Durban, with the typical deluge of last minute entries leaving a procession of couriers delivering elaborate storyboards to the office this week.
To ensure that the difficult process of fully grasping the designers intentions from the storyboard presented in their absence, a strong panel of judges, consisting of Terrence Bray, Sindi Shangase, Terrence Pillay, Greg Wallis, and Gold Circle's Monica Holman convened and started the slow deliberation of every storyboard submitted, identifying the strongest entries that showed a clear grasp of the theme, current trends and creative execution potential.
It took several painstaking hours to further reduce the top storyboards to the best ten, and the process of contacting the successful designers got under way. "It is always a difficult process as we rely entirely on what the designer has managed to communicate to each judge through their storyboard," said Vodacom Durban July Fashion programme director Tiffany Prior.
"There was an amazing energy in the entries, and there was a substantial increase in the number of storyboard entries," said Prior. The designers provide storyboards that include very detailed technical drawings of the design, a motivation to support their creative interpretation of the theme "the Colour of Magic" and numerous swatches and samples of the fabric, trim and accessories they envisage for the outfit.
"What was encouraging was the way that the best storyboards interpreted the theme," said Prior. "They understood that it was about the 'magic of fashion' and also read the warning that it wasn't all about the colour red. "Quite a few of the conceptual designs revolve around the garment transforming on the catwalk, which will be exciting to see," she added.
The ten finalists are: Martin Steenkamp, Yanela Mtolo, Alice Rash, Nishthi Sewnath, Tilonê Viljoen, Ntokozo Buthelezi, Wanda Majubana, Mellissa Scandarra (all Durban), Georgia Rhoda (Nelspruit), Teresa Joubert (Stellenbosch). The 2017 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 1 July.