The world is in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution, especially the fashion industry, which is now driven by a pattern of fashion innovations from 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI) to advances in biomaterial. It is with this in mind that the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Leandi Mulder is passionate about her exciting eco-friendly designer range which aims to be sustainable through the fourth industrial revolution and beyond.
The dynamic fashion designer who specialises in sustainably designed womenswear, has not gone unnoticed, earning her the opportunity to obtain a scholarship to study at the prestigious Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology in China, for a year theory preparation, one year practical and six months to compile her thesis.
The recently graduated BTech Fashion student, who is already in China, is ecstatic to be given such an opportunity to learn and grow as a fashion designer on an international level.
“Beijing University of Fashion Technology (BIFT) has been branching out on an international level to build relationships with various fashion universities around the world. DUT is one of these universities. BIFT and DUT are now aiming at encouraging students to pursue academic studies through offering scholarships at each University. BIFT has offered a Masters scholarship to me which covers all tuition, accommodation and a stipend each month,” she added excitedly.
Mulder stressed that to qualify for the scholarship, she had to submit her academic history, portfolio and pass an HSK level 4 Mandarin. After reviewing her portfolio, she was lucky enough to be allowed to attend BIFT with a level 3 Mandarin.
Her challenge to learn the Mandarin language in under four months was difficult. “At the beginning of 2018, I enrolled in lessons to learn the daunting language of Mandarin at the Confucius institute (CI). As an aspiring student at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, obtaining a HSK Level 3 Mandarin, was a prerequisite (The CI is equally one of the partners to facilitate the BIFT partnership). Thankfully, with the support of some incredible Mandarin lecturers, and a strong perseverance in my heart, I finally reached my goal. Not only did I pass the test, I passed with 78%, a score that I never deemed possible,” she said proudly.
Mulder is no stranger to receiving awards and accolades having been privileged enough to be awarded the Daphne Strutt Memorial Prize, the 2016 Emma Smith Art Scholarship and obtained Cum Laude for her Diploma and BTech qualifications. Mulder has showcased her collections at SAFW Johannesburg, and AFI Cape Town Fashion Week. She has also participated in a fashion installation at the KZNSA gallery in May this year. Also, her designs were showcased as part of the fashion collective of the 12th Salon 58 soiree curated by the esteemed Jackie Burger.
For Mulder, to be given such an amazing opportunity to amalgamate her sustainable design ideas with the Chinese and Japanese influences, is a dream come true. As a DUT fashion alumni, she believes she was exposed to many opportunities and is grateful to DUT for giving her that platform and recognition to grow as a sustainable designer.
“DUT has given me many opportunities to get me to the point to where I am now. The Emma Smith Scholarship was a great stepping-stone in encouraging me to focus on my career path. (I used the prize money to travel to Japan for an internship). The support and DUT standard of education, helped me to keep pushing myself to my highest limits,” she said.
Pictured: Leandi Mulder (Photo by: Lynsey Anne Hughes)