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The mission statement in the Department of Fashion and Textiles at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) is to provide an educational ethos which emphasises a distinctive relationship between practice and research in a cultural context, and to provide the creative tensions necessary for students to achieve their full potential.

This is evident in creative designers like Fikile Sokhulu and Jessica Shuttleworth, who both will be showcasing at the World University Student Fashion Design Competition at Qingdao, China, from today, 11 October 2018 to 12 October 2018.

DUT alumnus, Shuttleworth, who is currently working as a merchandiser in the fashion industry, is very chuffed with the opportunity to showcase her designs internationally. She has proven to be adventurous in her designs, especially during her BTech year, where she explored digital printing of macro photographs onto textiles, and applying handcrafted surface design techniques such as embroidery and 3D digital printing to the textiles.

Sokhulu graduated with her diploma in Fashion and Textiles last year, and was also the winner of the Best Range on Show at the DUT Annual Fashion Show in 2017.

At beginning of this year, 2018, she started working on her brand labelled Fikile Zamagcino Sokhulu and creating garments for clients.

For Sokhulu, she also expressed her excitement upon hearing the news that she would be showcasing at the international design competition. “I am thrilled as I would be leaving the country for the first time to be showcasing on an international stage. My collection which I will be showcasing was inspired by the concept of embracing femininity. A woman as a goddess who is versatile and delicate,” she said.
She also added that her choice of the neutral colour palette was inspired by the idea of a strong delicate woman without colour, as she is versatile. “The fabric that is used reflects an organic feel, as unbleached calico fabric, in its natural state, references being calm. Light weight fabric and neutral colour schemes used in my collection also reflect a soft, gentle mood,” she said.

For Sokhulu, her future plans include growing as a designer both locally and internationally.
Speaking on the two dynamic fashion students, DUT Head of Fashion and Textiles, Sunthra Moodley, said the faculty and department at DUT are extremely thrilled that both students have been invited to showcase and compete at both these events in Beijing. “After years of hard work and dedication our department is finally being recognised internationally. The students who are attending have been selected because of their hard work and dedication through the year, and the uniqueness of their design aesthetic,” she said proudly.

Mr Frank Lin Wu, Director of the Confucius Institute, voiced his delight upon hearing the news of the two students. “I am so excited that they will represent DUT, represent South Africa, actually as the only one African country to participate in the World University Students Fashion Design Competition in China. It is a multi-dimensional and international competition that attracts fashion design colleges and universities all round the world. It is a great event to witness the integration of fashion industry and education, and to explore the future possibility of building an international platform to incubate more international fashion talents,” he added excitedly.

Pictured: Jessica Shuttlworth and Fikile Sokhulu

Waheeda Peters

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