from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
DURBAN – THE Fashion Development Programme has established itself as a pivot of job creation in Ethekwini and a vital pillar for the South African economy.
In total, over 300 fashion designers have benefited from the programme since its inception in 2012.
Some 15 local designers supply their collections to established national clothing retail chain stores and now operate boutiques.
This has resulted in the creation of over 100 sustainable jobs.
Local fashion designers have praised the collaboration between eThekwini Municipality and the Hollywood Foundation to advance the local clothing and textiles industry.
This comes as the public-private partnership saw nine Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) rising stars awarded with business equipment totaling R250 000 this week.
The business equipment handover included fabric, generators, signage material, industrial sewing machines, and other tools of trade such as laptops and industrial irons as well as other material being given to the selected designers.
The beneficiaries are Treasure Cindi, Sicelo Dlezi, Martin John Steenkamp, Kwenzi Nkomo, Sanelisiwe Skhosana, Dineo Khumalo, Sandile Mngadi, Sizwe Mncube and Zama Gumede.
“We are all truly humbled and grateful for this assistance,” Steenkamp, founder of the Martin John Bespoke fashion label brand, said.
Msizi Mabaso, a member of the City’s Economic Development and Planning Committee, said the equipment handover aimed to ensure local fashion designers advance their businesses and improve productivity.
“This initiative also contributes to the City’s efforts to uplift the clothing and textiles industry,” he said.
Mabaso welcomed the public-private partnership model with the Hollywood Foundation.
“This model is crucial in growing and reviving the small, medium, and micro enterprise sector. We call on more private sector stakeholders to do so,” the councilor said.
Vuyisile Ngobese, from the Hollywood Foundation, noted the clothing and textiles industry had experienced several setbacks in recent years.
“It gives us so much pleasure to join forces with eThekwini Municipality and contribute towards the empowerment of fashion designers and entrepreneurs,” Ngobese said.
– CAJ News
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