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Standard Banks' Threads Accelerator finalists selected

Twelve South African fashion industry creatives have been selected to participate in the Threads Accelerator programme, which kicks off this week.
The finalists, who were selected from over 400 entries across South Africa, represent the inspiring diversity of the South African fashion aesthetic - from designers of maternity wear, modesty wear and luxury women ranges, to belts and handbag design houses and denim wear designers; the participants in the inaugural Threads programme have one thing in common – they are each running fashion businesses with enormous potential to become major industry power players.

Standard Banks' Threads Accelerator finalists selected

Inspired by the confounding statistic that the sub-Saharan African fashion industry represents a lamentable 1% of the USD 3 tn global fashion industry, Threads – Stitched by Standard Bank was conceptualised to support up-and-coming fashion entrepreneurs in transforming their growing businesses into powerful, profitable fashion brands.  The programme will take place over a 12-week duration in classroom hubs in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

“Selecting the finalists from the deluge of entries we received was thrilling and somewhat overwhelming – we really had our work cut out for us in whittling the list down to the final 12. The creativity in the South African fashion industry is world class - all that these entrepreneurs really need is the vital sales, administrative, financial, and marketing rigor that’ll take their businesses to the next level. We at Threads, alongside with our sponsor Standard Bank, and partner Mercedes-Benz, cannot wait to commence this journey with these very deserving entrepreneurs,” comments Tania Habimana, co-founder of the Threads programme.

Standard Banks' Threads Accelerator finalists selected

The 12 participants of the Threads – Stitched by Standard Bank accelerator programme are:

  1. Anthony Smith of 2Bop – street wear label based in Cape Town. They manufacture and produce headwear, apparel and accessories.

  2. Majda Rabin of Chimpel – a Cape Town based luxury leather accessories (belts and handbags) design house.

  3. Evans Zemba of Walk In Closet (WIC) Designs, a Port Elizabeth based men & womens leisurewear fashion house.

  4. Thabo Makhetha of Thabo Makhetha an African luxury brand, well known for her Basotho blanket “Kobo” creations, the brand’s Classic Starburst piece, was nominated for the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2016 (MBOISA) at the Design Indaba.

  5. Junior Mmotla of MAMAGASEHOME, a men and womans streetwear fashion range.

  6. Yamkela Lize of [ Refined Revolt]], an East-London based textile designer and handbag accessory manufacturer.

  7. Asanda Mali of Mal’stones – a Port Elizabeth based body-positive women’s wear fashion house.

  8. Tshego Manche of La Manche Clothing a Joburg based premium womanswear fashion house.

  9. Jacqueline Munsami of JSE Couture – a Durban based fashion house that has three lines, Jacqui Emmanuel Couture, Jacqui Emmanuel Pret n’ Porter and Emmanuel Sportsluxe. Their prints are exclusive to their label, as are their laser cuts, embroidery and embossing.

  10. Lyndall Moodley of Hannah Grace Maternity, a Durban based maternity wear designed to provide expectant and nursing mothers with comfortable, affordable and versatile clothing.

  11. Sabiha Badsha of Haya Collective , a Johannesburg based contemporary modest wear brand.

  12. Tshepo Mohlala of Tshepo the Jeanmaker – a premium lifestyle denim brand with strong roots in South Africa.

Going forward, the twelve creatives will participate in the programme, the curriculum of which was co-created with the e4 Impact Foundation, an initiative of the Universita Cattolico of Milan, which focuses on impact entrepreneurship. The curriculum covers the broad swathe of business operations, including financing and retaining employees, lean manufacturing, eCommerce and specialised procurement methods and marketing. 

At the conclusion of the 12-week programme, finalists will present their new business models to the panel of judges, businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo, branding guru Timothy Maurice Webster, creative Jacqui Burger, CEO of online retailer Spree, Vincent Hoogduijin, and Maxhosa fashion designer Laduma Ngxokolo.

The participant that the judges select as the winner will receive a package of prizes that’s designed to set them up for sure success – a Mercedes-Benz ambassadorship, which will see them driving a brand-new vehicle for a year-long period, a Standard Bank curated SME start-up pack, and international trade trip to Europe, where they’ll present their businesses to wholesale buyers and retailers, a high-impact private distribution network, and access to industry trade fairs.

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