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By Lineo Lesemane

Digital Lifestyle Journalist

AFI returns to Durban July for fashion competition

The theme for this year’s Durban July is "Out of this World".

African Fashion International (AFI) returns this year to host another edition of the AFI Fashion Experience with Gemelli at Africa’s greatest horseracing event, the Durban July.

The globally renowned event is being held on Saturday, 1 July, at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban.

AFI has identified this event as an ideal opportunity to exhibit the abilities of the 2023 AFI Fastrack finalists.

AFI Fastrack is a 12-month young designer programme that teaches young and upcoming designers the business of fashion.

AFI Fastrack Durban July public fashion competition

The finalists have created garments inspired by this year’s Durban July theme “Out of this World”.

They will take part in the public fashion competition this afternoon, competing against each other and other young designers and fashion entrepreneurs for a chance at fashion glory at the 127th edition of the Durban July.

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Marketing Manager of African Fashion International, Roshnee Pillay, said they are thrilled to be part of this equestrian event.

“The Hollywood Bets Durban July provides a unique opportunity to showcase the best of African fashion talent. It is a major event on the African calendar, and it is an opportunity for us to showcase the best of African fashion to a global audience.

“We are also proud to be contributing to the city’s economy by using local talent for our fashion show. Through our development programme, AFI Fastrack, we are nurturing the next generation of designers and entrepreneurs, and we are proud to see them take part in this prestigious competition,” she said.

There is more to the programme

The Citizen spoke to one of the AFI Fastrack finalists, Mimangaliso Ndiko, also known as Sixx6 in the fashion industry.

AFI Fastrack 2023 finalists with Carol Ofori and House of Nala by AFI designers
AFI Fastrack 2023 finalists with Carol Ofori and House of Nala by AFI designers. Picture: Supplied

He said the AFI Fastrack experience has been informative and helps them evolve as they have been exposed to many different opportunities.

“We don’t just go in and showcase, there is more to the programme. There is development. It gives you more insight into what happens before you showcase.

“We have been through a lot of challenges along the way that have also built us and helped us and moulded us into better designers and business people because often people focus on the glamour of it all and ignore the business side of it.”

AFI Brand and Designer Liaison Manager, KhwazaTshisela
AFI Brand and Designer Liaison Manager, KhwazaTshisela. Picture: Supplied

African Fashion International brand and designer Liaison, Khwaza Tshisela, said the aim of the programme is to highlight emerging young designers who don’t have the resources and capabilities to market themselves and their businesses.

“The idea is to equip them, for instance, the Durban July challenge, we were able to get them a fabric sponsorship so that they are able to use it for production purposes. So we offer a solid support structure,” she said.

The programme consists of fashion graduates, self-taught and inexperienced designers, and overall, designers that do not have growth opportunities.

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