Monday, 28 May 2007

Design4Life Africa opens doors for designers

The UK Minister of State for Lifelong Learning Further and Higher Education, Mr Bill Rammel visited the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in December to announce the official launch of the Tabeisa Design 4 Life Africa project for South Africa.

The Technical and Business Education Initiative in South Africa (Tabeisa) has already delivered a successful pilot project with the ‘Design4Life Ghana’ competition resulting in ‘Designs 2 Sell’. This project was funded by the UK Department for Education and Skills.

It invited designers in Ghana and the UK to produce both textile and dress designs incorporating traditional Ghanaian Batik, creating a range of dresses to be made by Ghanaian fair trade groups.

The ‘Design4Life Ghana’ competition and the winning fashion designs were showcased and winners announced as the opening item of the Ethical Fashion Show, Paris, in October 2006.The project benefited from the input of a high calibrejudging panel, including leading high street buyers.

Design4Life Africa will build on the experience and success of Design4Life Ghana and will expand the programme both within Ghana, South Africa and the UK. It will build capacity within institutions to link skilled artisans and entrepreneurs in Ghana and South Africa with design flair, marketing understanding and to create products clearly ‘Designed 2 Sell’.

There will be an emphasis on involving South African retailers in the judging panels so that the competition remains focussed on producing designs that have real commercial potential, Designs produced through the competition will be donated to and manufactured by Tabeisa supported small businesses/cooperatives, offering a route to assistance with product design, an area where grassroots businesses are often lacking.

Design4Life Africa will deliver a fashion and textiles design competition across South Africa, Ghana and the UK.

The competition will be open to both existing designers as well as students. It will be strongly promoted at the seven African and English partner institutions namely the CPUT, Tshwane University of Technology, Walter Sisulu University for Science and Technology, Durban University of Technology, Coventry University and the University of Greenwich in the UK and the University of Education, Winneba in Ghana.

Design4llife Africa will be a two-stage competition. The first stage will be two national competitions, namely Design4life Ghana and Design4life South Africa. Following the announcement of the shortlisted designs for each national competition, an international fashion show will be held bringing all the shortlisted designs and their designers together for the selection of a final overall winner.

There is the potential for winning designs to be showcased again as part of the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris.

Written by CPUT News