Beauty & Fashion

To The Races

To The Races

Georgie Rhoda heads to the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge

Georgia Rhoda’s passion for fashion began when she was a little girl dreaming of her bright future, and has led to the achievement of her being selected as one of the top-10 finalists to showcase her designs at the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge presented by the Durban Fashion Fair.

Georgia is a second-year student at the prestigious Xela Fashion College in Mbombela. “I absolutely love what I do. It’s hectic, hands-on, and there’s a lot of practical work involved, but when I see what I’ve done it’s like I have achieved something. I’ll have this idea in my head, and no one will understand until they actually see it created. It’s like here’s my proof, look at it. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to share it.”
She admits that since starting at Xela she has learnt a tremendous amount. “When I first started studying here, I didn’t even know how to sew, all I could do was draw and conceptualise. I went from zero to pretty far in a short amount of time. Now I can actually make my own tangible garments.”
Georgia’s passion is clearly evident by the beautiful outfit she is putting together for the Durban July Fashion Challenge. “Alex Asman, our principal, inspired us to take part in the competition. I never ever dreamt I’d be a top-10 finalist, it was really unexpected,” she says.
“We all received a brief from the organisers, which was a one-page poem, a riddle. We spent about two lessons deciphering the poem, to figure out what they wanted from us, and then the idea came to me. For the challenge I am making a three-piece garment; trousers, a blouse, and a waistcoat with two accessories.”

The theme of the brief was “The Colour of Magic”. The rules were simple: to create something fantastic, inspired by the art of magic, but still reasonably commercial and wearable. The fabrics had to be chosen beforehand, and a storyboard put together, showcasing the student’s ideas. Once the storyboard was complete, it was sent off to Durban to be judged. Students from all over South Africa, as well as neighbouring countries entered, and out of everyone, Georgia was nominated as part of the top 10.
We asked her how she came up with her amazing idea. “Well, a few things from the brief really stood out to me. They were looking for something that surprises you, something that transforms. An illusion. I drew inspiration from that. There’s an act that magicians do, called a quick change, where they change their clothing in a flash, and that piqued my interest. I designed a sleeve that changes. It can flip over to the top, and looks like a completely different outfit.” Georgia demonstrates this to us with bits and pieces of material.
“The sleeve is black and white, and when you flip it over its purple. For my ‘illusion’ part of the outfit, I went with squares on the trousers, they trick your eyes into seeing depth but actually it’s flat. I also wanted to bring it back to race day so I drew inspiration from the outfit horse riders wear during dressage. I added a collar, top hat, and cravat.” she smiles thinking of her work.
“We have to make the outfit exactly the way we have presented it on the storyboard. We cannot change a thing.”
For Georgia, although the idea of winning is a great one, she’s not only in it for that. “All I want to see is my model walking down the ramp in my clothes, and my heart will be happy; I’ll feel a sense of achievement and honestly just be over the moon.”
Georgia admits she does feel the pressure to perform and make sure everything is perfect, but the excitement of the project keeps her going. “I’m juggling many things right now – working on this project, squeezing in responsibilities at home, church, college and still trying to maintain a social life which is pretty non-existent right now, but it’s all so worth it in the end,” the fashionista said.
Before the actual fashion challenge on the day of the Vodacom Durban July, there is a fitting for those modelling the attire, a dress rehearsal, two fashion shows with the ready-made garments, as well as a photo shoot.

All I want to see is my model walking down the ramp in my clothes, and my heart will be happy

Georgia tells us that one of the most exciting things for her is getting her own model, according to the size of the clothing. She gets to pick the make-up, hair and decide how her outfit will be worn. The winner is then announced on race day, and she says she will definitely be there, along with the rest of her college… Watch this space.
If Georgia should win the Fashion Challenge she will receive R5 000 in prize money, and it will kick-start her entire career in the fashion industry, although it goes without saying that even being picked as a finalist is a major achievement.
She graduates from college at the end of 2017, and hopes to gain more knowledge and experience in the fashion industry before setting off on her own business venture.
“I love dramatic fashion, things that really catch your eye, and I have always loved the costumes featured in movies. They’ll evoke a feeling, bring life to a character, it just adds to the whole movie. That’s where I want to end up eventually, creating costumes for movies.”

Contact Xela Fashion College on 013-752-6654


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