AFI opened calls for applications for the program from qualifying candidates (students in their graduate year) at the end of 2012. Twelve finalists were selected from these applications by a panel including Bryan Ramkilawan (CEO of the Cape Town Fashion Council), Greg Wallis (CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Fashion Council), Angie Masike (AFI Next Generation Designer) and Bella Cebekhulu and Kyle Boshoff representing AFI. The twelve finalists feature four finalists from Gauteng, five from the Western Cape and three from KwaZulu Natal. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PROFILES OF THE 12 FINALISTS.
The finalists will be given an opportunity to present their collections to media, buyers and consumers at MBFWJ on Satuday, 9 March at 14:30. Before their show, each graduate-designer will attend a business development workshop and then be evaluated before a panel of Judges. This year’s panel includes Aspasia Karras (Editor of Marie Claire), Poppy Evans (Fashion Director of ELLE), Malcolm Klûk and Christian Gabriel du Toit from top fashion label Klûk CGDT and Bella Cebekhulu (Business Development Manager at AFI).
The three winners that result from this process will be given a cash prize and be placed in a fashion-industry internship in their city. They will also receive futher business development training, be given market access (through Buyer Salons and the African Fashion Trade Expo) and be given support to develop a capsule range to showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa (in October).
This initiative is supported through a sponsorship from Mercedes-Benz South Africa, who continue to show a commitment to the development of young design talent. The GGDA has also made a pledge of support by means of a partnership with AFI. Through the partnership, the GGDA commits to providing skills training and support that are relevant to the participants of the program.