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  • DUT Alumni


Durban University of Technology (DUT) second-year Fashion and Textiles student, Ismael Mchunu, has made the university proud by winning the most sought-after fashion title of the 2022 Hollywoodbets Durban July Young Designer Award, presented by Durban Fashion Fair, at Greyville Racecourse, last Saturday, 02 July 2022.

Mchunu (25) clinched the award beating nine other fashionista hopefuls with his winning design, showcasing the 2022 theme of ‘Show Me the Honey’. Besides Mchunu, DUT Fashion and Textiles student Sinqobile Nzama also stitched her way to the Top 10 in the esteemed competition.

Mchunu, who is from Palmview in Phoenix, was elated when he was named the winner on race day, thanking his DUT lecturers and the the Hollywoodbets Durban July for giving DUT Fashion students an opportunity to showcase their talent. He also confessed that he would love to work with Hollywoodbets going forward.

For Mchunu, his captivating garment was inspired by the beautiful flower bud.

Sinqobile Nzama who was also one of the Top 10 finalists. (Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media)

“I saw the beauty inside the flower bud and transferred the features of the flower bud into my dress. I had a short skirt inside, followed by a long skirt and above the long skirt, I used twisted buttons and when you open the buttons, you will see the short skirt. The main aim was to show the beauty inside the bud of the flower when it is open through my design,” said Mchunu. The gifted student designer, who already has two brands under his name called McXainny and Hairryman, is very keen to open his own fashion studio, a fashion factory and a clothing brand shop.

Also making DUT proud was Nzama, who spoke at the competition on race day, saying that it was such an awesome feeling to have people watch her victory as one of the top ten finalists. In terms of her gorgeous design, Nzama commented that she was inspired by the wings and the eyes of the bee, relaying that she focused solely on the anatomy of the bee for her garment inspiration. She has a brand and a registered company called I Conquer Designs and her future plan is to make custom-made looks for people. She also wants to open a manufacturing business and employ young talent, to create more community employment in the rural areas.

Professor Runette Kruger, Executive Dean Faculty of Arts and Design at DUT said the Faculty was immensely proud of Ismael Mchunu for winning the Young Designer award at the Durban July and of Sinqobile Nzama, who featured as a top ten finalist. “The Fashion students are supported and mentored by a very dedicated team of lecturers, and the talent in the department is next level. I cannot wait to see how Ismael and Sinqobile grow in their careers,” she said.

Mchunu received R50 000 in bursary support from the Hollywood Foundation. He also wins a trip to the prestigious SA Fashion Week in October, R10 000 in cash compliments of Gold Circle and Schweppes and a R5 000 gift card courtesy of Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Besides his win, DUT, as the winning fashion institution, received a R30 000 grant from Gold Circle, to be used to support the programmes and for the development of the design students.

Pictured: Ismael Mchunu with his model wearing his winning design. (Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media)

Waheeda Peters

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