Young designer to shine in Paris

Roshanara Ebrahim models Tara Simeons design for the Source Africa Young Designers Competition. Here, Tara shows off the shade tent.

Tara Simeon, a design student at Cape Town College of Fashion Design, will be heading to Paris, the fashion capital of the world, as part of her reward for winning the the Source Africa Young Designers’ Competition.

This is the first year that the competition formed part of Source Africa, which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) last week.

The Young Designers Competition formed part of the highlights of Source Africa, where 14 designers, from different colleges around the city, including Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town College of Fashion Design, Fedisa, the Elizabeth Galloway Academy and Northlink College, competed for the winning prize of a mannequin, a sewing machine worth R25 000, R10 000 cash and an all expenses paid trip to Paris, France, to form part of one of the biggest shows on the fashion calendar, Apparel Sourcing Paris.

Source Africa trade show, an exhibition of local businesses and buyers in the textile industry, is aimed at promoting the growth of small- and medium-sized businesses, increase trade between African countries and improve on standards within the industry.

More than 130 local and international businesses took part in the two-day event, with this year’s theme being local and global trends. There were also various seminars and showcases relating to the industry.

Anita Stanbury, one of the organisers of the Young Designers’ competition, said the designers were given a brief to come up with the best retail-ready women’s wear look.

“Each college put forward at least five students to work on the designs.

“We initially wanted to choose the top 10 best designs, but there were many good designers, so we chose 14.”

She said that young designers needed support for the industry to thrive.

Ms Simeon’s design, a black jumpsuit with a yellow belt, with a jacket and a backpack which turns into a shade tent, took the prize.

Asked how she felt about winning, Ms Simeon said: “It’s not sinking in yet.”

The Plumstead resident and fourth-year student said she had wanted to be a fashion designer since she was a little girl.

She grew up in Durban and after her family went through some financial difficulty, she came to Cape Town to study fashion.

“My look today is based on poverty because of my background. I made jackets that can turn into CB bags, so that when you wear these clothes you will always have shelter.”

She said she also had the idea to include a shelter voucher with all the pieces in the collection, so that the wearer could give it to someone in need.

Her goal is to eventually support Bobbi Bear, a human rights organisation committed to helping sexually abused children.

As for the trip to Paris, she said: “The only time I’ve ever been on a plane was when I came to Cape Town from Durban, so I’m very excited. It’s mind blowing.”

The editor of GQ magazine, Nkosiyati Khumalo, who was also one of the judges, of the competition, said while they love using extravagant words in fashion, they also love using the words support and networking. “It’s so exciting to give new talent a platform, but it’s also important to provide them with the right networking tools and support to help them grow.”

Messe Frankfurt SA CEO, Konstantin von Vieregge, said the trade show had been successful thus far, as this was the first Source Africa event run by the global trade show company.

Messe Frankfurt had taken over a number of trade shows last year, including the Cape Town International Boat Show at the V&A Waterfront in October and the ATF trade exhibition taking place at the CTICC in November.

He said as of next year, the ATF and Source Africa trade shows would be combined. “We will still keep them under different brands, but combine them into one event merely because we want to increase foot traffic. We want more people to come to the trade shows and we want people to have more to see.”