Her love for fashion designing will now see the dynamic 22–year old Zane Ngwenya showcasing at the International Youth Designer Competition in Beijing, China, which takes place at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT) from 18 to the 20 October 2018.
The Durban University of Technology (DUT) fashion student and is currently doing her Bachelor of Technology Degree in Fashion Design. For Ngwenya, she was selected by her department to enter the first round which included submitting storyboards and a mood board and then she was notified by the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT) that she had made it through to the final showcase round of the competition.
The International Youth Design Competition and Static Exhibition theme this year is on “Culture /Trans Disciplinary Design”. The student competition will also include a talk and discussion on Culture Communication and Design Dialogue. “China seems like an adventure and for me it will be amazing to interact with other fashion students and creatives. It’s always encouraging to see and hear about what other young people are doing, and this will also be a new cultural experience for me, I have never been abroad before so I want to take in as much as I possibly can,” she said excitedly.
Having benefited from an exceptional skills and theory based education during the three years of studying towards a National Diploma in Fashion and Textile Design at DUT, in which Ngwenya graduated Cum Laude with a dean’s merit, she has gained an understanding of her design aesthetic which is minimal, conceptual and progressive.
Talking more about her six designs that she will be showcasing in Beijing, she said it is a psychedelic tactile experience in the form of a hand woven textile that is a futuristic application of a traditional weaving handcraft technique which is made using unconventional materials.
“The overall theme for the competition is Culture, and for me I believe that culture forms part of our identity and it commands us to look at the past so that we may know who we are in the present, by reviving the dying virtue of indigenous traditional handcraft techniques I wanted to create a personal aesthetic that not only defines me as a young designer but also highlights my heritage as a Zulu woman,” she stressed.
Ngwenya also said that the unconventional recycled materials in the form of electrical wires and rubber mats are manipulated to develop a mind-altering tactile experience in the form of a woven textile, which is a futuristic application of a traditional Nguni hand weaving technique; and a representation of her personal design sense combined with her cultural identity.
“I feel grateful and honoured but most importantly humbled because the fact that I was chosen is really a testament to the quality of work that the DUT fashion department is able to nurture and produce, international recognition shows that the department is developing unique talent,” she said.
With the completion of her studies she hopes to gain the momentum she needs to pursue a creative career by entering a design work environment that is in line with her belief in mindful and thoughtful design.
“I have an interest in fashion theory and that is why I wanted to pursue my studies further by doing my BTech this year. I want to go into trend forecasting as well as I think it is important to see fashion not only as technical discipline but also theory. I am only at the beginning of my career and I hope to continue to grow and learn from each opportunity. For me it’s never about conquering it is about growth,” she said.
Her advice to future student designers at DUT is to believe in one’s creative intuition, commit to one’s craft. “Be honest with yourself because people are able to recognise that in your work,” she said.
Mr Frank Lin Wu, Director of the Confucius Institute, was also elated to hear Ngwenya was chosen as a finalist for International Youth Designer Competition in Beijing, China.
“Fashion is one of the important industry leading the development of other industries, it represents a nation’s culture, technology and creative and innovative capacity. For the young generation designer, to participate in such an international competition, this will definitely expand their vision and give them more inspiration. A higher and broader platform is something, we, as the educators, want to provide to our youth,” he said.
Pictured: Zane Ngwenya with models showcasing her work.