Cape designer vies for top spot – News24

Sunday, 12 June
20 Jul 2021
A Cape Town designer hopes that her Bo-Kaap-inspired fashion designs will help her win an international fashion design challenge.
Ishaarah Arnold (28), born and bred in the Bo-Kaap, says when she entered the Shein, an international fashion company, #Sheinx100kchallenge, she did it to inspire young people and more specifically women of colour.
Arnold’s designs scored her a place in the semi-finals in the top 30. She is also the only South African participant.
#Sheinx100kchallenge is a programme that allows aspiring designers to create unique pieces after which the company then manufactures, markets and sells their items. “We get to showcase new talent, while emerging designers can keep their profits and ownership of their creations,” reads the company’s website.
Arnold says she entered the programme and designed a spring and summer collection. She explains that this competition is open to all the designers who participated in the programme.
Arnold explains that the theme for the competition is: “Be bold. Be you.” She says the idea to use her community as inspiration was an easy decision as the area is known for its vibrancy.
“The area is well-known for its colours and bright culture so I wanted to really focus that in the theme of bold by making pieces that are super strong from a colour perspective and that spoke to Bo-Kaap’s flavour in that way.”
The designer explains that she received a stipend through the competition that allowed her to get a small team of people to help her with her designs.
She adds that she created a two-piece suit collection that speaks to the strong South African woman who navigates the world as her own.
She adds: “I also want it to be interpreted in a way that the woman who wears it is a strong South African woman who isn’t afraid to wear bold colours, to be out there and to be herself. I think it is important that there is that balance between what it’s inspired by and who wears it.”
Arnold says she recently ventured into fashion and has been working in the visual design industry for more than six years, a career path she pursued to follow in the footsteps of her sister who passed away at a young age. But she says fashion has always been a passion too.
She says she needs as many votes as possible. Closing date for votes is Sunday 25 July. According to the votes Arnold is currently positioned in 9th spot out of the 30 participants.
“At the moment it’s the voting process and they have celebrity judges overseas too that will judge all the entrants and then they will select the top five. The top five will be flown over to the Unites States of America (SA) where their creation will be showcased during Shein’s fashion week and streamed to millions of viewers globally.”
She explains that the fashion week takes place on Thursday 9 September, after which the winner will be announced.
Arnold says having her work recognised on the global stage is a massive motivation.
“It’s extremely rewarding as a South African creative to know that my work is of a global standard. Knowing that it is something that can stand out to other people from all around the world is incredibly validating. It is validating to know that as a creative, I’ve got what it takes. There is a lot of pressure, but mostly positive.”
She says winning the competition will not only be a big win for her but also for other young people of colour.
“It would be incredible to work with a business partner, Melissa Thomas. Together we are trying to build this future world where creators of colour are at the forefront of things and being able to win would be a great catalyst to drive that purpose. This is something we have been trying to do within this competition. We got the stipend to produce this clothing and do all the visuals and we hired a full team of people of colour because we wanted to make sure we have a team of people that are being uplifted.”
She says coming from a disadvantaged background winning will also enable her to give back to her community and her family.
To walk away with the $100 000 winning prize, Arnold needs votes from the public where after an international judging panel will have the final say.


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