At the end of 2017, we had the pleasure of going to the in-store launch of the new Edgars DSGN EDT Proudly SA fashion label. This capsule collection features the ranges of the five local ladieswear designers who graduated the pilot Edcon Design Innovation Challenge. The Challenge was launched in September 2016 to advance skills development and entrepreneurship in the local fashion sector.
In September, Equilibrio wrote about the Edcon and Proudly South African “Heritage Through Fashion” themed runway show we attended and Edcon’s role in nurturing local design talent (read the full article here). The fashion show introduced the designs of the alumni of the 2016/2017 Edcon Design Innovation Challenge intern program, including some of the designs which are now finally in store.
THE EDCON DESIGN INNOVATION CHALLENGE
The opportunity for these young local designers to showcase their talent came as a result of Edcon’s Design Innovation Challenge. This initiative is endorsed by Proudly South African, of which Edcon is currently the only clothing and retail sector member.
The pilot Edcon Design Innovation Challenge provided a group of 14 final year and post-graduate fashion design students the opportunity to bring their unique designs to the retail market. These fortunate, talented students were given the tools and guidance necessary to hone their skills through learning platforms made available by Edcon. This includes a three-month “21 Steps To Retail’ training programme facilitated by Runway Productions, the organisers of SA Fashion Week. This was followed by a one year-internship at Edcon, and mentorship by some of South Africa’s most acclaimed fashion designers.
During the manufacturing process the designers were exposed to the intricacies of mass production. They were part of the entire process, from choosing fabrics to oversight of the production and finally, delivery into the store, giving them invaluable exposure to the entire retail value chain. The pilot Challenge was launched in Gauteng and thanks to its success, design students in the rest of South Africa will be afforded the opportunity to enter and participate in this innovative programme.
THE EDGARS DSGN EDT COLLECTION
This exclusive to Edgars capsule range is available in the following Edgars stores. Sandton City, Mall of Africa and Eastgate Shopping Centre in Johannesburg, Menlyn Park and Kollonade Shopping Centre in Pretoria (Tshwane), Mall of the North in Polokwane, Gateway Theatre of Shopping and Westville Mall in Durban, Canal Walk in Cape Town and Loch Logan Waterfront in Bloemfontein. I already purchased my first Helu piece, the gorgeous denim dress on the left which looks great with heels or flats. Pop into one of these Edgars stores now to purchase you own local design piece.
Currently, Edgars will only stock ladieswear in its Edgars DSGN EDT range. Edcon has however said they will embark on a process to manufacture the menswear next year. The talented designers that form part of the Edgars DSGN EDT collection include, Kea Maphologela of Kea.M, Michelle Dindi of Scarlett x Haze (she already has her own online store too), Maps Ralephenya of Court 95, Hlengiwe Gavu of Redemption Royalty and Noxi Helu of Helu. Throughout this post, we‘ve featured some of the items included in this capsule collection that you can find in the stores listed above.
Elelwane Pahlana, General Manager of Transformation at Edcon, said: “We are proud to be breaking down the barriers of entry into the retail industry for these young designers. We have witnessed phenomenal talent in this initiative, and we are pleased that these young designers are getting exposure into the clothing retail industry. It also gives us hope for the growth of the local fashion industry and provides many reasons to continue to support proudly South African produced garments,” says Pahlana.
THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT
“The Edcon Design Innovation Challenge reconfirmed our confidence in the talent of young South Africans fashion designers. The quality of the designs, the commitment by the young designers and the energy they display – it’s a huge privilege for Edcon to be nurturing this young talent and bringing their creations into our stores,” Pahlana added.
Equilibrio applauds Edcon and these wonderfully talented and inspirational group of young designers. Edcon is currently in the process of seeking out the next group of lucky candidates for their 2018 Challenge. We can’t wait to see what the new batch of talent will produce.