Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


June 15th, 2012

Entries Open for the ELLE Magazine ‘Rising Star Design Award’ – COMPETITION

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Written by: Jacqueline Shaw


After ten successful years of spotting the countries most promising fashion design talent, the ELLE RISING STAR DESIGN AWARD is raising the bar this year with a grand prize that will jump start one lucky aspiring designer’s career The competition will be run In association with leading fashion retailer Mr Price, and will provide a platform for a talented designer to launch their own label which will be available exclusively to Mr Price.

The Elle Rising Star Design Award has brought together leading professionals that will mentor and coach the winner on all aspects necessary to succeed in the fashion industry. In addition to the monetary prize, the winner will be put through a well-planned mentoring programme that will equip them with the skills to launch their own fashion brand and refine the skill required to develop their entrepreneurial flair.

One of the greatest challenges facing the South African fashion industry is the lack of business skill. ELLE acknowledges the complexity and sophistication required to succeed in this sector and is committed to creating a sustainable platform for local design talent by growing them into “Fashion Entrepreneurs”.

This platform is an opportunity to nurture aspiring designers to not only be creative, but to identify an opportunity, a gap, in the market (design, production, distribution, or retail level), and pursue this opportunity for commercial benefit. It is about having a unique selling proposition and the right business skills to deliver quality fashion.

‘The ELLE Rising Star Design Award is designed to turn talent into success,’ says ELLE Editor Jackie Burger. ‘Thanks to our partnership with Mr Price, mentoring has always been a key part of this competition. Winners have benefited enormously from a mentoring programme at Mr Price where they were exposed to the full retail cycle from trend forecasting to merchandising, and had the opportunity to interpret their winning range to be sold at selected Mr Price stores.”

Now, in addition, they will learn business skills from GIBS coaches and Public Relations expert Savannah Erasmus from alk Shop and spend a week with the ELLE fashion team. Our goal is to give young South African fashion talent the very best chance for success.

Burger heads up the judging panel, which also includes ELLE senior fashion editor Poppy Evans, Mr Price trend forecaster Joanne Frédéric, Dr Nicola Kleyn from GIBS, fashion blogger Sandiso Ngubane, Mr Price trend executive Amber Jones and former winner Anisa Mpungwe of Loincloth & Ashes. Another innovation this year is the inclusion of an ELLE reader on the judging panel.

Final-year design students and fashion design graduates with less than two years’ experience are eligible to enter. Creativity, technical ability, business acumen and style are the leading criteria. The collection must be submitted in storyboard format and not be larger than A3. It must be a range that shows exactly what the label will be about and what you stand for as a designer. It should consist of eight outfits and can be for men or women. Fabric swatches and technical drawings must accompany your storyboard. The closing date is 15 June 2012, and finalists must attend a four-day business workshop presented by GIBS from 3 to 6 August.

Previous winners have included David Tlale, Anisa Mpungwe and many more. Kelly Esterhuyse won the award in 2011 and her range consisted mainly of mohair  from the Angora goat. She chose mohair as she felt (according to her interview with Elle SA magazine) that it was a “somewhat overlooked medium in the fashion industry in South Africa in terms of ‘new’ design. Additionally, as the Eastern Cape is the mohair capital of the world, I decided to support our local textiles industry and create a mohair range. I also used mohair because it is an incredibly luxurious and versatile fibre.”

More information is available in the May issue of ELLE and online at


The winner will receive a cash prize of R25 000 and mentorship from Mr Price, Gordon School of Business Science (GIBS) and Talk Shop’s Savannah Erasmus. He or she will redesign items from the winning range to be sold in selected Mr Price stores, and Mr Price will contribute R6 500 to the cost of making up a range to be shown at the ELLE Fashion Awards in 2013



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One Comment

  1. Audin

    pliz i’d like to know if this contest will be available in Senegal some day.

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