The “Out of Africa” creations by second-year students blew away national designer Paledi Segapo, who was visiting Fairview Racecourse in Port Elizabeth this weekend as a celebrity fashion judge.
A dozen NMMU students were tasked with designing garments for the East Cape Derby on Saturday, May 13, to an “Out of Africa” brief that incorporated a coffee blend by Bay roastery Mastertons.
“It is spectacular in the sense that these are second-year students and so many of them had impeccable workmanship, and they capitalised on minimalist silhouettes,” said Segapo, the founder of Palse Homme – a South African menswear label which is a regular on catwalks in Africa and Europe.
“I’m completely blown away, this is fashion talent to watch out for!” he said, particularly as this was the first time many students had ever made any sort of garment.
Winning student Habi Doucouré, from Mali, took the top prize of R10000 towards her study fees.
“Taking it back to my roots, my outfit is inspired by the people of Mali and the traditional richness that still lives there,” said Doucouré of the long cream dress in a fabric called Bogolan, which she noted was “unique” to her country.
She accessorised her garment with a wrap headpiece that included a “coffee” bowl.
“Bogolan is made by placing hand-spun cotton in fermented mud, dyeing it with a chosen colour and then hand- painting on a specific design,” Doucouré said.
“The cowrie shells on the sleeves and neck are a symbol of protection and good luck in the Malian culture.”
Shelby Horn took second place for her Tsitsikamma Mountain Blend inspired mini-skater dress, which Segapo praised for its workmanship.
Hannah Maybery took third spot for her dress overlaid with a capelet.
Segapo was one of three judges at the race day, with Bruce Cadle of the NMMU School of Music, Art and Design and Gillian McAinsh, My HeraldLIVE editor at The Herald.
As well as the fashion show, students also showed t-shirts on the day and there were several other fun activities such as food trucks, a jumping castle and a children’s play area for families as well as seasoned race-goers to enjoy.