Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The KwaZulu-Natal Fashion Council

Exactly 8 days ago I attended a breakfast meeting organised by an amiable and very friendly lady, Jasmine Sultan. The meeting was a briefing and an introduction to the KwaZulu-Natal Fashion Council and the launch of its strategic programmes. I got wind of this meeting in a local daily and when I telephoned Jasmine to enquire into the council, its mission and purpose, Jasmine responded in a positive way acceding to my request to an invitation. The event started relatively on time and the proceedings commenced with a brief explication by Jasmine on the fashion council and its mission.

Within no time the room was full and two extra tables had to be put in place to accommodate the overflow, which delighted the organisers. The audience was a blend of individuals who are active and interested in the fashion industry. Students, fashion designers, fashion show producers and local government representatives comprised the audience. The Durban Universty of Techonology was represented by Head of Department in Fashion and Textiles, George Vorster. He gave a talk on the importance of  fashion design at tertiary school level and the university's involvement with the fashion council. Anu Pather, programme manager (sectors) Ethekwini municipality within the economic development unit, expounded on government's role with the fashion council. Jasmine went in detail to explain how the fashion council would work, membership ( which is free until June 2013, then it will commence at R1000 per annum), and the fashion council's budget which has been subsidised by local government. The establishment of a fashion district in Durban is also an initiative of the council, especially because of the lack of one; and the need to centralise all fashion activities in the city. I see this as an opportunity to rebrand the city, as well as an exercise in urban rejuvenation, if you will. What is also to follow from this launch will be the establishment of a national fashion council which will comprise members from different councils throughout the country with a vested interest in the advancement of South African fashion.

Some of the strategic programmes of the fashion council include market access platforms, technical and business skills and a fashion design mentorship programme. The return of Durban Fashion week was also announced to the delight of the attendees. Some notable and venerable individuals in attendance were fashion designer Lindiwe Khuzwayo, fashion show producer Danny Moodliar of Absolute SA, and couture designer Haroun Hansrot. I had the opportunity to network with a few people and interesting discussions around fashion design took place; that have attracted me into doing a course in fashion design and menswear next year. I would be remiss if I didn't thank Jasmine for a well organised and informative briefing. Her warm and welcoming personality were enough to put everyone at ease and engaged in the morning's proceedings. For further information regarding the KZN Fashion Council Jasmine can be reached on 031 311 4237.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

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