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Elle reveals new SA fashion talent

Anisa Ami Mpungwe is South Africa's newest designer to watch, having walked away with top honours at the Elle New Talent Awards recently.
Anisa Ami Mpungwe - the 2008 winner of the Elle New Talent Awards.
Anisa Ami Mpungwe - the 2008 winner of the Elle New Talent Awards.
The announcement was made after the Elle New Talent show, in association with Mr Price, at the opening of Sanlam SA Fashion Week in Sandton on Wednesday, 27 August 2008.

Chosen from six finalists, the 24-year-old impressed the judges with her understanding and approach to the brief and execution of her range. Mpungwe has a BA degree in Fashion and Marketing from Midrand Graduate Institute and has also studied creative pattern cutting at the London College of Fashion. Her work experience includes working for wedding dress designer, Melissa Botha, freelancing for African Mosaique and working on a project for Paris Fashion Week. Currently she works for Black Coffee.

“What has become apparent looking at last year's winner and Anisa this year, is that success in this industry does not happen overnight, one has to study, do the internship, be mentored and put in a lot of hard work. More than talent, hands-on experience is invaluable and you can see this clearly through the creative and execution process,” said trend analyst, Dion Chang who headed the judging panel.

Anisa's sketches for her winning designs
Anisa's sketches for her winning designs
click to enlarge
Open to recently qualified designers, the awards are focused on developing and nurturing talent in the fashion industry. This year's competition will for the first time give the winner an opportunity to be exposed to the full retail cycle through a mentorship programme with Mr Price. In addition the retailer will give Mpungwe a cash prize of R10 000.

“We are excited with the pool of talent coming through in this country and we want to increase our involvement in the growth of this industry. We look forward to working with Anisa in furthering her career,” said Joanne Coelho, trend executive for Mr Price.

The competition has in past years brought to the fore talented local up-and-coming young design talent in the South African fashion industry. Previous winners include: David Tlale (who was part of this year's judging panel), Frances Andrews (Library label) and last year's winner Tiaan Nagel.

“Judging from the talent exhibited during this competition, we are thrilled to see a new breed of young designers with fresh thinking who are not inhibited by their history or dictated to by international trends. They are not afraid to be themselves,” said Elle's fashion director, Chris Viljoen, who also judged the awards.

David Tlale concurs with Viljoen that the future of fashion industry looks bright if the level of talent projected at the competition is anything to go by. “These are driven young people who are brave enough to say this is my signature but still manage to approach design through a global eye.”
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