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KZN fashion designers given a boost

Written by Thandeka Ngobese

Sport, arts, culture

Two hundred fashion designers have been given a lifeline by the KwaZulu-Natal Fashion Council (KZNFC).

Fashion designer Amanda May (right) with KwaZulu-Natal Fashion Council stakeholders.Fashion designers from the province, who are members of the KZNFC, now have access to training and skills development initiatives that will help to grow their businesses. 

KZNFC, which was established in 2009 by the Ethekwini Municipality Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environment Affairs, aims to provide assistance and guidance to local designers to equip them with skills that will enable them to provide for themselves and their families.

One of the beneficiaries Ayanda May, who had the privilege of travelling abroad to showcase her work, told Vuk’uzenzele that she joined the KZNFC when her business was not doing well.

“I started my company in November 2011 and didn’t really do well until I became a KZNFC member in 2012. That is when things started to happen. They made it possible for me to do a buyers’ lounge during the SA Fashion Week for 2012 and 2014. I represented South Africa at Messe and in Berlin. I also exhibited during Africa Fashion Week in London and I was chosen to take part in Ghana Fashion Week in 2015,” said May.

May now supplies over 10 boutiques nationally, including online shopping stores, and has been working with major clothing retailers. She currently employs three people and will soon increase this number to 10. 

Another beneficiary Siyathemba Duma said she never thought that her business would be where it is today. 

“I started my business in 2012 and didn’t know where to go in terms of marketing and advertising my business. But soon after I joined KZNFC the same year, things started to take shape. I thank the municipality for helping us,” she said.

Speaker of the Ethekwini Municipality, Logie Naidoo, said he is happy to listen to such success stories because it shows that the municipality is making strides in shaping the textiles industry and it’s starting to yield positive results.

“We believe this sector can play an active role in job creation and in growing the economy. From the 1980s to 1990s the textiles industry  employed about 170 000 people in the province, but  now sitting at just over 23 000 (according to KZN Textile Cluster figures).

“However, the employment statistics show a slight increase of 16 per cent between 2012 and 2015, which proves the worth of our efforts,” said Naidoo.

KZNFC Managing Director, Nomonde Masoka, said the council’s key highlights for 2014/2015 included the training of 255 designers, offering five bursaries of R5 000 to students at an accredited institute and establishing five designer district forums and municipal satellite offices.

“We will continue to provide support to the fashion industry this year, which includes the development of new markets for KZN exporters,” said Masoka.

KZNFC membership is free of charge.

For more information, fashion designers can visit www.kznfc.co.za or call 031 8258569/9647.

 

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