The winners of the New Faces category at the Durban Fashion Fair for 2018 were announced during the recent DFF Recognition Awards evening hosted at the ICC by the eThekwini Municipality who just celebrated their 20th anniversary of the Durban Business Fair.

Presented as part of its successful Fashion Development Programme, the DFF this year celebrated its seventh year of wowing designers, the media, fashion buyers and the public. It brings out the very best in local fashion with top class shows that allow local creatives to strut their stuff alongside the best in the world.

To discover hidden talents that can put Durban on the fashion map as well as ensure that, when it comes to design, Durban is a top contender, the eThekwini Municipality has invested substantial sums in internships, industry related training programmes, networking sessions and various lifestyle and modelling programmes and boot camps.

These models, who were scouted throughout the greater eThekwini Municipality, have been provided with invaluable training over the past two months prior to the DFF - from runway skills, posing and posture presentation and photographic editorial techniques to “model etiquette”. These are proving the tools that will enable them to reach for their dreams and take full advantage of the opportunity to participate in a high profile fashion show such as the DFF.

The Mayor of the eThekwini municipality, Cllr Zandile Gumede, said it was inspiring that, to date, the DFF had attracted a range of local, Pan-African and international experts in the fashion sector.

“This year’s programme did not only excite fashion lovers with attractive creations, it also featured empowerment workshops to equip aspiring designers and participants with insight into the latest trends in the fashion sector. We are proud that the DFF has moved beyond just supporting local designers and now also provides opportunities for youngsters from disadvantaged communities to get themselves on the DFF ramp and begin to build modelling careers,” she said.

The DFF 2018 new faces were chosen based on Facebook and Instagram competitions, their walk, attitude and the way that they carried themselves during their model etiquette training.

Coming out tops in the men’s category was Ntando Blessing Shandu, an 18-year-old hailing from Inanda. He is currently attending Ikusasalentsha Secondary School and admitted that trying to balance his school work with rehearsals and fittings was tough, but that didn’t stop him from giving the competition his all. This clearly paid off in leaps and bounds.

“I first noticed the advertisement for the Durban Fashion Fair New Faces in the newspapers and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to open up and expand my modelling career, as modelling is my lifelong dream!” explains Shandu.

When he’s not on the catwalk, you’ll find Shandu out and about with friends and family. One of his favourite past times is going to watch a movie, as well as learning more about the world we live in and eating healthily - although he won’t say no to chocolate or ice cream on the odd occasion! 

Be sure to keep your eye on Shandu, as he plans on owning his own company one day. This will enable members of his community explore their dreams and even expand their modelling and acting careers.

Nandile Mkhize is the winner of the women’s category. She’s 20 years old, from KwaMashu and is currently upgrading her pass marks at Howard College, whilst also working as a hostess at Mugg&Bean.

“I believe that participating in the Durban Fashion Fair will enable me to learn more about modelling and help me to not only develop my modelling career but also travel the world” says Mkhize, “My parents were so happy when they heard the news! The love I got from them was priceless”.

The Durban Fashion Fair taught her many things - from learning how to walk the catwalk, to what her diet should look like (although when she does cheat on it, it’s usually with a Big Mac).

What she lives by is focussing on and trusting in God – and she says that this is what has helped and encouraged her to achieve what she has so far. Mkhize plans on growing in the modelling industry and wants to become South Africa’s next top ramp model. 

To wrap this up, the Programme Manager for the Business Support Tourism & Markets Unit, Sindi Shangase who spearheads the DFF said, “The Durban Fashion Fair is thrilled to have helped these two young people to begin to shape their careers. I cannot wait to see how they bloom and blossom as they move into the future”.

Catch all the fashion action from the #DFF2018 on the facebook page: Durban Fashion Fair or on Twitter / Instagram @Dbnfashion_fair .

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