Local talent takes home Durban July Young Designers Award

Sizwe Sibiya

Durban University of Technology student Ismael Mchunu has won this year’s coveted Hollywoodbets Durban July (HDJ) Young Designers Award for his incredible bud-inspired gown.

Placed against two high-end fashion designers from the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion in the final round, Mchunu emerged victorious on Saturday, taking home a R50,000 cash prize.

“For me the theme was all about being sweet so my inspiration was the flower bud and the concept was the beauty inside the bud of the flower when it is open,” Mchunu told HDJ, winning the award.

The theme for this year’s Durban July horse racing event, which took place at Durban’s Greyville Racecourse, was “Show Me the Honey”, with honey gold the colour donned by many celebrities.

“The process was heavy for me because I spent so much time planning the work but I am very happy that this is how it came out in the end.

“There was a lot of work to do on the garment and to see how it all ended up makes me feel good. I am looking forward to the next steps in my journey,” said Mchunu, who made his garment green like a bud.

The nature-inspired piece has also won him a trip to the SA Fashion Week in October 2022.

His other winnings included an additional R10,000 in cash, compliments of Gold Circle and Schweppes, and a R5,000 gift card courtesy of Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

Slindile Ndlovu, who finished in second place, walked away with a R30,000 cash prize, while her fellow student Nhlanhla Dlamini won a R20,000 cash prize for coming third.

“I am just really, really happy that I managed to win!” concluded Mchunu.

Image source: Hollywoodbets Foundation


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