Thursday, January 21, 2010

A helping hand for design

Met an interesting face at the Audi Fashion Week last night, straight after the Spero Villioti show. I was introduced by jewellery designer Kevin Friedman to South African born Shaun Borstrock who has started up the Shaun Borstrock Foundation for the Creative Industries, in South Africa. He is working in combination with well established label Karen Millen whose show kicked off the fashion week, along with other international partners.

The Karen Millen label is scouting for talented emerging young designers who might not have the education or the funds to start off on their own. Which is where the collaboration with Shaun's foundation comes in. The foundation will "mentor, nurture and empower" young designers within South Africa's creative industries ... so that's not just fashion. It's graphic designers, product designers, jewellery designers and industrial product designers. I asked Shaun about crafts as they do influence design to a certain degree in South Africa, but he told me that it was about design in a wider sense. The Foundation wants to find someone who will make it in the world of design internationally.

Shaun says that the Foundation is looking to support a designer and that this is a
collaboration between the University of Hertfordshire, CPUT, Ruth Prowse and BHC
School of Design, all in Cape Town, working together on a project called
The International Entrepreneur. He told me to have a look at their work in progress on

Ultimately the most promising among the young designers is going to London to work in the Karen Millen studio, and then on the Premier Vision fabric fair in Paris which is a huge opportunity.

Shaun says he wants to teach the young designers how to put a collection together, how to price and merchandise and how to establish their market, so that they can go out on their own afterwards.

Spero Villioti is another designer who is helping youngsters in the world of couture. His students works kicked off his show, and showed a polish and finish which few young South African designers have grasped. Attached to his couture school is the Couture Educational Foundation which was also established to help those who are not in a financial situation to pursue a career in fashion design. The foundation grants bursaries, scholarships and awards to select candidates and some of the money raised from the Fashion Week show went towards this foundation.

His show elicited gasps of pleasure and delight from the audience, as his garments are always so feminine and exquisitely made in gorgeous fabrics.

Talk show show and socialite Carolyn Steyn joked later that she "had found her wedding dress" at the show and vowed to pay him a visit!


Precious said...

"Our greatest fear is not failiure, our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond our greatest imagination..."I am glad to hear about this great initiative, i am a former graphic design student( Vega2006) and i was attending at UJ in 2009 but i had to drop out due to lack of funds, i refuse to let this alter my dream of one day having my own design studio. i am passionate about fashion and i will not give up on my ambitions because for me giving up is way harder than trying. My email address is: and my cell number is: 0849129959

sarah cangley said...

Hi Precious,

Shaun's email is

Good luck with your fashion design career and don't give up

Niala Orsmond said...


‎...Curiosity kills boredom. Nothing can kill curiosity.