Third year Fashion and Textiles student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Sicelo Justice Maphumulo was awarded third place at the 2019 World University Student Fashion Design competition, held at Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province on 9 November, 2019.
The three-day fashion show competition gathered numerous colleges and universities from 14 countries. The competition did not only display the creativity among the fashion designers but also explored the new direction of the integration of production and education in the global fashion field from the global perspective.
For Maphumulo, coming third in such a big competition felt surreal as he was amongst a very diverse pool of creativity.
“This achievement was like a kick in the right direction in terms of my attitude and the level I should apply myself towards my craft from hereon, so I found this to be very insightful in that sense,” said Maphumulo.
Following his appointment by the third year creative directors to join the competition as it is a model of industry education integration, Maphumulo said the process of gearing up for the competition was fun but hectic at the same time as he was required to partake in the competition with his final year work, which was his first body of work.
He added that, he believes his collection was chosen because it was very cross-cultured.
“My concept recognises the differences among people of different nations, backgrounds and ethnicities, and most importantly it also recognises the importance of bridging these differences,” said Maphumulo.
He further said his concept was inspired by their final year theme which was DÚrbania, where they could focus on anything to do with Durban, adding that he took his concept from Durban taxi drivers, as they are like the heart and soul of Durban, being responsible for most people’s livelihoods.
“Their multi-cultured way of dressing is what really inspired the concept, also their experimental fusion of ethnic wear with the urban way of dressing portrays a very punchy, aesthetic one that has been consistent throughout the years, making them instantly recognisable even outside the borders of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). This is translated in my designs by the very fashion forward and African influenced aesthetic which speaks of years and years of South African traditions told in a modern, global story,” he said.
Part of Maphumulo’s plans is to successfully launch his brand in three years and to further cultivate his skills by finding employment or internships in fields that will improve his entrepreneurial qualities and business acumen.
Amongst his many achievements, Maphumulo was shortlisted in the South African Fashion Week (SAFW) Competition this year, and he also received the Creative Director’s award which is the Gideon’s Merit Award at the DUT annual fashion show this year.
“This was also very exciting and encouraging for me, I must admit that winning third place in China is my first major accolade since I started doing fashion three years ago,” said Maphumulo proudly.
Pictured; Sicelo Justice Maphumulo at the 2019 World University Student Fashion Design competition.