The Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019 continues the initiative to nurture, build and showcase young South African design talent. Now in its 3rd year, 34 design graduates have benefited from their participation in the Design Innovation Challenge.

Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019

It’s inspiring to see the positive transformative impact the Challenge has had on the lives of the young designers who make the cut. Initiatives like this are vital to build a local fashion industry that can play a meaningful role in economic growth. By cultivating young entrepreneurs we can create jobs and sustainable financial independence in a country where youth unemployment is rife. Initiatives like the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019 make one eager to find a way to make a contribution. We can only ponder why other major fashion retailers have not followed suit. Well done to the Edcon Group for its continued investment in the local industry. We think you rock!

Here’s a short video which provides a snapshot of the 3-year history of the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge, and what it has meant for the personal growth of the graduates.


We’ve been covering the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge since its inaugural year in 2017 when we attended the Heritage Through Fashion runway show. Created in partnership with Runway Productions, spearheaded by the inimitable Lucilla Booyzen, the goal is simple. To advance skills development and entrepreneurship in the clothing and retail sector.

The Challenge provides (12) selected final year post graduate South African fashion design students with the opportunity to further develop their design, technical and business skills. The education platform includes a 3-month 21 Steps to Retail programme, an internship with the Edcon Group and mentorships with established local designers. It culminates in the designers showcasing a collection in a graduation runway show at which the winner of the Challenge is announced.

Elelwane Pahlana, Divisional Executive Group Transformation and Government Relations at Edcon said, “Edcon remains unwaivering in its investment in youth development. Programmes such as these empower our youth with the skills, entrepreneurial proficiency and leadership abilities required to pursue sustainable careers which in turn stimulates job creation and contributes to the growth of the local economy and South Africa’s GDP”.

(Related post:  Edcon nurtures young fashion design talent )


Happy Ngidi, Chief Marketing Officer at Proudly South African had this to say. “Proudly South African has been involved with the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge for the past few years and has even showcased a number of the designers’ work at high profile, televised events. We wholeheartedly support this initiative for its creativity as well as for the business lessons it gives to these young designers many of whom go on to create jobs for others. This opportunity for them to show their ranges as the culmination of all their work and of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will be one which they won’t forget”.


Following months of intense learning and hard work, a fashion show and graduation was held on 22 November 2019 to showcase the work of the 12 young designers and announce the winner of this year’s Challenge. It also marked the end of Global Entrepreneurship Week and was attended by Former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe who delivered the keynote address.

Equilibrio in the FROW supporting and wearing local

Siviwe Ntwana was announced as the winner of the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019 for his imminently wearable and saleable streetwear for men and women. His collection was influenced by IsiPantsula, a form of dance and a cultural movement born in the SA townships.

Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019 Winner
Designer Siviwe Ntwana in front of his winning collection

Thabang Mabe was awarded second prize for his hip-hop streetwear with hints of Japanese silhouettes. We loved the cute ant motif in his print. Nina Peterson placed third for her classically stylish menswear collection inspired by the respectful men in her family, the 70’s and Cuban culture.

Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019 Runners Up
Thabang Mabe’s 2nd placed designs (left) and Nina Peterson’s 3rd placed designs (right)

Everyone is a winner

While there were 3 prize-winners selected on the day, we felt that the entire showcase was deserved of praise. We were hugely impressed with the level of design and technical talent that was demonstrated by all the designers. Here is a quick look at some more of our favourite womenswear designs.

We loved the futuristic designs of Durban University of Technology graduate, Nadia Rabin and her use of innovative structured fabrics. Nadia says she designed her collection for “the fashion-forward plus-sized women who are bold, young at heart and highly motivated to inspire the younger generation to push boundaries.” Well, she certainly did with this collection.

Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019
Nadia Rabin

Mashoto Maredi’s collection stemmed from her personal experience of gaining weight and having clothes that no longer fit. Something we can all empathise with! She was inspired to create a collection of size adjustable clothing as a means to accommodate changes in a woman’s body and alleviate waste in the fashion industry. We applaud her forward-looking focus on creating a sustainable fashion label.

Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019
Mashoto Maredi

We also enjoyed the bold colour combinations and use of breathable cotton in Bothshelo Molete’s “Mmala” collection inspired by the colourful layers worn by the northern Indian Rabari tribe. (A Sesotho word, “Mmala” translates to “colourful” in English.)

Edcon Design Innovation Challenge 2019
Botshelo Molete


We love local which is why we focus on local fashion in our online shop. Here’s a small selection of some of the newer items recently added to the store. Click on the images to shop.

(RELATED POSTS: Edcon Design Innovation Challenge In Store; Edcon’s Fashion Internship Programme is a Hit )

Close My Cart
Close Wishlist
Recently Viewed Close