In this #BehindtheBrandManager feature, we find out more from Justine Cullinan, GM of marketing and brand strategy and communication at the iconic and well-loved South African fast-food chain Nando's.ByRuth Cooper
As part of the Stadio School of Fashion's (SSOF) transition to remote working in response to Covid-19, it is replacing its longstanding annual fashion extravaganza with an interactive lookbook. The virtual lookbook, showcasing the work of the Fashion and Design Class of 2020, features photographs of the works of 150 students, from years one, two and three.
For the last 25 years, SSOF (formerly Lisof) students have benefited from having their work showcased in front of a panel of renowned industry judges, at the school’s physical fashion show – a annual highlight for the school and industry. The new virtual offering has been developed as a way to continue exhibiting the students' designs while working within the parameters of Covid-19 regulations.
“Change is never easy nor is letting go of the past and even though we are sad not to be able to host our annual fashion show, we are incredibly proud of our ability to innovate and go online. As Africa’s most progressive fashion design school, this transition felt natural and ultimately helped in opening up the showcase to an even wider audience,” says Maryne Steenekamp, head of Stadio School of Fashion. “This would not have been possible with a physical fashion show. We have never seen our local students’ work displayed in this way before and we are incredibly excited to see them benefit from the virtual ‘catwalk’. The online lookbook is already proving to be a fantastic portfolio for potential employers to view the talents of our students.”
Judging process... with public input
Apart from the fashion industry players, students and parents, the general public are also now able to ‘attend’ the showcase. The showcase introduces photographs of final half-scale (sample) garments by first years, full ensembles by second year students and profile pages of a range designed by each third-year student. The showcase’s photographs were all shot by well-known photographer Francki Burger.
This year’s panel of judges include the recording artist Tamara Dey; television host, actress and model Lalla Hirayama, as well as fashion designer and former alumnus, Jacques Bam. The appointed panel will judge the third-year ranges according to the following categories: Best Commercial Range; Best Conceptual Range; and the range that best depicts the WGSN Trend reports set to the students as a springboard to develop their ranges. Retail giant Truworths has also requested to be included in this process, as they would like to make use of the opportunity to recruit young designers for their inhouse training programme.
SSOF invites the public to view the lookbook and vote for their favourite third year range by virtually liking their preferred designer. This will be the 4th Category.
The winners, as voted by the public and judging panel, will be announced within the following week and will be awarded prize hampers from industry, for example Truworths, Cosmetix SA, among others. The SSOF is excited to gauge public reaction to the lookbook and is considering expanding the platform to include other disciplines under the Faculty of Arts and Design in the future.
“Whilst an online lookbook will never generate the same levels of euphoria and experience that goes into putting on a physical fashion show, we firmly believe that it is a practical solution to our new normal. To say that I am merely proud of our students and lecturers would be a complete understatement,” concludes Steenekamp.
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