Now into its 4th year, African Fashion International presented its Fastrack young designer mentorship programme. Fastrack is designed to develop new brands by helping recent graduates show on Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This exposes graduates to potential buyers and creates a networking opportunity with local and international media representatives.

Charna Gentle graduated from Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design in 2012. Gentle follows in the footsteps of fellow EGAFD alumni Alschke Mielman in 2010, Mia Kriek, Chelsey Wilson, Hubré Wahl, Natalie Comberly, Nikita Newton and Tina Loftus in 2011 and Kim Gush and Tamryn van der Merve in 2012. Mia Kriek, Chesley Wilson and Kim Gush were selected as Fastrack winners. This accolade got them not only cash prize but a beneficial mentorships with Foschini and Kazak clothing which saw them produce capsule collections under their own label and sold in Foschini.

Gentle presented a collection for winter 2013 based on her 3rd year self-expression range titled “Quarter past ten”. The collection is a tour in texture presented in fall tones. Gentle offered hand-knits with leather outerwear in a collection that offered comfort dressing with ramp appeal. Gentle explored textiles that offer warmth and protection from the elements. The “Quarter past ten” collection is a testament to the diverse skills explored during Gentle’s 3 years of study on the Diploma in Fashion Design programme at Elizabeth Galloway.

AFI Fastrack helps fashion students get a foot in the door by offering a platform on which they can promote their creative portfolio and engage with the local fashion industry. To date Elizabeth Galloway Graduates have shown a strong presence at AFI Fastrack and we look forward to seeing what our 2013 crop of 3rd years will have to show.

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All images by: Simon Deiner / SDR Photo