Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) fashion design student Armand Dicker is one of only 12 student contestants chosen nationally to showcase their work at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg (MBFWJ) from 3 to 7 March.
The names of the contestants were revealed by Africa Fashion International (AFI) this week after their participation in the 2015 AFI Fastrack programme.
Armand’s selection to South Africa’s premier fashion show follows the success of many other NMMU fashion and textile design graduates, including Laduma Ngxokolo, of MaXhosa knitwear fame, who recently won the inaugural Vogue Scouting for Africa prize.
A thrilled Armand, 24, of Cotswold Extension, says he is both “pressured and excited” about next week’s event.
“I am mostly pressured because I am determined to do well. I have to be confident,” says the former Framesby High School matriculant, who will graduate from NMMU in April.
Armand says he draws inspiration from NMMU alumni, Laduma Ngxokolo and Ruth McNaughton.
“I’m not inspired by celebrities. I’m inspired by people who aren’t afraid to express themselves. Laduma and Ruth are both people who have not let their circumstances determine their future. That inspires me,” he says.
Coincidentally, Ruth McNaughton’s work is also presently under the gaze of fashionistas as her felt and mohair cape vies for the coveted prize of South Africa‘s Most Beautiful Object at this week’s Design Indaba in Cape Town.
Armand’s lecturers had nothing but high praise for the determined young man.
“Armand is an exceptional student because he was motivated by the desire to achieve, not to beat others,” says Fashion Design lecturer Harm Grobelaar.
Armand says he knew he wanted to go into fashion when he was just 10 years old when he would watch Fashion TV to get tips and spot the latest trends.
He designed his first dress while still at school.
He says he chose to enroll at NMMU because of the calibre of fashion design graduates the university produces.
An advocate for menswear, Armand says this market is growing tremendously in South African fashion.
“The menswear market has grown and will continue to grow in South Africa. People have become more open minded, I see a gap there and I want to capture it. I want to cater for both your creative and the more conservative market. Hence my collection also includes leggings for men,” says Armand.
According to ELLE online (25/02/2015, http://www.elle.co.za/mbfwj-announces-12-afi-fast-track-designers/), AFI is a national fashion incubation programme and design acceleration platform that nurtures and develops South Africa’s young design talent. It also provides them with the opportunity to develop and transform into successful business owners.
Photographs by Alisha Gathercole
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Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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