the graduate show preview

Cape Town Fashion Week kicks off with Spring/Summer collections 2010/11 on an appropriately balmy day! I can just picture fashionistas all over town rummaging through closets, calling up designers in a high state of emergency, looking for something a little lighter and brighter than the carefully planned, depths-of-winter ensembles.
Or did the fashion oracles always plan to wear Spring/Summer attire to Spring/Summer shows? These are the things I don't yet know, but plan to find out and will keep you in the loop!

Today's line-up starts with The Graduate Show. Major fashion retailer Foschini and the Cape Town Fashion Council got together to inspire and promote the work of top design students in the country.

Young Designer Award shows have been around for decades and have been known to provide some incredible exposure for young talent, but a stigma exists that resultant collections are all fabulous fantasy but make little financial sense. The Graduate Show is tackling the stigma head-on by recognising the complex balance between creativity and commercial viability.

For the Creative showcase accredited design schools in the Western Cape enter designs of their own choosing, as curated by their educators. The key word is creative and innovation is prized.
The Commercial section is open to students nationwide and competing designers are strictly briefed to come up with fashionable, on-trend collections with a strong consideration for commercial appeal. Designers can focus their collections on one of three current trends: Lady Boudoir, Haute Hippie the Love Child, or Wild Wild West. As a special treat, the top six designers also design one show-stopping finale garment. This is their opportunity to channel their inner couturier and free their imagination from the considerations of the practical, the wearable and the profitable.

I was fortunate enough to meet some of the Foschini folk at the CTFW launch yesterday, and can attest that this competition lies close to their hearts. As a big part of Foschini’s Corporate Social Investment Portfolio, they passionately wish to make a quantifiable difference in the lives of promising young design students, giving them a platform to be seen and also to experience the real, intense and sometimes hard truths behind a life in reality fashion design. Partnered with the committed and extremely knowledgeable team that comprises the Cape Town Fashion Council, I can't wait to see what this show delivers today and for years to come.

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