On Wednesday the 28th of June 2017, Edcon captivated fashion-loving guests at the dazzling display of young design talent showcased at the grand finale of Edcon’s Design Innovation Challenge – an initiative by Edcon that empowers young designers with skills and training, giving them platforms that can bring their ideas to life. This life changing programme, one of several of Edcon’s CSI and Transformation initiatives, is truly a significant commitment on Edcon’s part to invest in growing young, upcoming local talent for the retail and fashion industry.
Three young fashion designers were rewarded for their fashion-forward collections designed as part of the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge’s 21 Steps to Retail Programme facilitated by Runway Productions, which also organises the annual SA Fashion Week. The event took place on Wednesday, 28 June at the Apartheid Museum’s George Bizos Hall in Booysens – a venue of significant historical meaning particularly as South Africans commemorated Youth Month in June.
The Edcon Design Innovation 2017 Challenge was won by Lameez Stoltenkamp for her men’s wear collection, with Arnold Phasha in second place and Shaylene Morris in third place, also for their men’s wear collections. The winner received R20 000.00, second placed received R15 000.00, and the third placed contestant received R10 000.00.
A total of 16 students from design colleges in Gauteng were selected from 45 entrants in the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge. The finalists are currently on a one-year internship with the Edcon Group and have been placed within the retailer’s Edgars and Jet chains, where they were exposed to the full spectrum of the retail business in areas such as quality assurance, buying and merchandising for ladies wear, men’s wear, kiddies and active wear.
The proud winner, Lameez Stoltenkamp, said: “The feeling is surreal. This has been an amazing journey, and I am thankful to Edcon for giving young designers this platform. The experience has changed my life. As young people, this opportunity means so much and has given us the freedom to chase our dreams.”
The CEO of Proudly South African, Eustace Mashimbye, the CEO of Runway Productions, Lucilla Booyzen, and the CEO and MD of Edcon, Bernie Brooks, were all in attendance. A highlight of the evening was a special runway show where each one of the 16 young designers showcased a full eight-piece collection. Bernie Brookes, CEO and Managing Director of Edcon, South Africa’s largest non-food retailer, said: “The Edcon Design Innovation Challenge reconfirmed our faith in the talent young South Africans possess. The quality of the designs, the commitment by the young designers and the energy they displayed was a marvel to watch.” Brookes added that he was convinced that the design and fashion industry in South Africa were in good hands.
Brookes said Edcon and Runway Productions were impressed by the quality of the designs and there are plans to introduce the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge as an ongoing project featuring post-graduate students. This, he added, was in line with Edcon’s strategy to source most of its merchandise from local manufacturers and fashion designers as a way of “growing our own timber”.
The selection process for the Design Innovation Challenge started in May 2016 with lecturers from 12 colleges and universities selecting nominees, where more than 40 final and post-graduate students were nominated for the challenge and submitting their final year collections as part of their entry. During the second phase, 28 students were shortlisted as semi-finalists from the entries and invited back for an interview, which involved the student designers presenting their final collection to the judges, followed by a business interview.
The top 17 finalists were then selected and they are the young designers who got the opportunity to participate in the 21 Steps to Retail Programme and received the 1-year internship with Edcon, including the chance to showcase their designs at the Edcon Design Innovation Runway Show Finale held at the Apartheid Museum on Wednesday, 28th June.
GM: Corporate Affairs and Communication
Communications Advisor to Edcon
South Africa: Lauren Human
The Edcon Group is Southern Africa’s largest non-food retailer. We have been in operation for more than 80 years and have expanded our footprint to 1,343 stores as at 25 March 2017, including 187 stores in eight countries outside of South Africa. During the current financial period, we operated our business under three principal operating divisions comprising nine key store chains as well as mono-branded stores throughout southern Africa
Our Edgars Division, is targeted at middle-to-upper-income customers and includes the Edgars store chains, and accounted for 40.1% of total retail sales in the 52-week period ended 25 March 2017. We had 212 stores in our Edgars Division and an average retail space of 728 thousand square meters for the financial year 2017.
Our Discount Division, which consists of discount stores selling value merchandise targeted at lower- to middle-income customers, includes store chains Jet and Jet Mart and accounted for 35.3% of total retail sales in the 52-week period ended 25 March 2017. We had 515 stores in this division and an average retail space of 582 thousand square meters for the financial year 2017.
Our Specialty Division, which consists of specialty stores selling value merchandise targeted at middle to upper-income customers, includes store chains CNA, Edgars Active, Edgars Shoe Gallery, Boardmans, and Red Square as well as our mono-branded stores, and accounted for 21.8% of total retail sales in the 52-week period ended 25 March 2017. We had 565 stores in our Specialty Division and an average retail space of 253 thousand square meters for the financial year 2017.
All photos were taken by Lizmarie Richardson Photography // Official SAFW Social Photographer.