ShopSA: Nokia Asha A-List Fastlane’s 2 designer’s careers

A couple of months ago I added my thoughts to an interview in the Guardian UK  about the dynamic between international fashion retailers and local or independent designers. To quote myself (how vain), when observing the South African consumer and how they buy I said “It’s really not a choice between Mr Price and a foreign competitor. It’s a choice between TopShop and a local small-scale designer. If someone is able to spend 1,000 ZAR on a basic dress from TopShop, they are also able to spend that on a local designer.” My point when saying that, was that for some unknown reason, South African consumers aren’t spending money on the local fashion industry.

Once upon a time, there was questionable quality, and as a consumer I used to steer away from buying locally produced garments because of this, but today: time, experience, better CMT’s and thus more access – has resulted in some phenomenal independent designer ranges. There are definitely still challenges, my friends tell me about them all the time and with designers like Two and Tiaan Nagel closing shop, those challenges are obviously still, for lack of a better word, debilitating to the industry as a whole.

However, I tend to believe that not all is lost as more brands embark on competitions or initiatives that aim to discover and nurture new talent. Nokia Asha’s A-List Fastlane competition, is one of those competitions and with the winners Ntuthuko Manqele and Daisie Jo Grobler being announced last week, it was really cool to read what judge Craig Native had to say about the judging process and more importantly the finalists. He said of the judging process  “the competition was tough. Anyone from the 8 had a clear cut chance. I reviewed the entries with much intensity. I decided to go for the 2 which I felt were “rough diamonds.” I want to give them an opportunity with the right infrastructure to see what they can deliver.”

Opportunity is something that most people don’t really realise comes with a hard work, especially post the opportunity presenting itself. These two finalist are now going to get the opportunity to fastlane their own fashion label and career with R50 000 courtesy of Nokia to create a 12 look collection all whilst working with Craig Native himself.

How cool would it be if in two years’ time I am raving about owning a  Ntuthuko Manqele or Daisie Jo Grobler piece?


  • Kego Gura
    Posted at 18:34h, 17 July Reply

    I am glad to hear there is someone who took notice of the huge challenge facing local designers because it is a humongous stumbling block.

    More of these competitions can form a great pedestal for us South African fashion designers, as well as the entire African continent

  • TEETEEISWITHME | Q&A with Nokia Asha A-List Finalists
    Posted at 07:01h, 30 September Reply

    […] and just overall loud mouth. Local really is lovely and it is really cool that platforms like the Nokia Asha A-List Fastlane competition and of course others like the Elle Rising Star Design Award exist because it means that […]

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