DUT student scoops fashion prize

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) has reinforced its claim to offer quality training in fashion design after one of its students shared joint first place in the SA Fashion Week Student Competition on Sunday.

Troy Clarke received a R5 000 cash prize for his entry after he was named joint first-prize winner with Judy Nel of the Elizabeth Gallaway Academy of Fashion in Stellenbosch.

The competition, themed ‘Fashion to Art”, focused on redefining fashion through the use of grey recycled clothing by converting a fusion of items into a luxury item of clothing. The competition was open to all design schools and tertiary institutions and of the 11 finalists six of the entrants were from DUT.

The brief required the use of recycled garments in tones of grey and household products with the use of different techniques, including embroidery, crochet and the process of dying fabric.

“For my entry I took a load of old school shirts and decided to redefine the shirt-dress,” Clarke told the Mail & Guardian.
“My inspiration came from Japan—the architecture, geishas and samurais—with the overall theme of strength and beauty.”

This is the second year running that a DUT student won the competition after Julia Cronje walked away with the top prize in 2009.

George Vorster, head of the fashion and textile department at DUT, said that the department has had notably more success in the competition since it was included in the curriculum.

“The competition is now part of the curriculum for all second-year students and gives them an opportunity to put their training in practice and get exposure to the fashion industry,” he told the M&G.

“We have a similar project for third-year students and for the past two years our students have come out tops at the Durban July Young Designers Award.”

The competition is now in its seventh year and organisers say the response from institutions wishing to enter continues to grow.

‘The quality of work is amazing and besides the cash prize on offer entrants get the opportunity to get directly involved in fashion week and get their names out there,” said competition coordinator Anna-Mari Pretorius.

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