What more could a student designer ask for than an opportunity to showcase their work through an established and esteemed brand? TFG (The Foschini Group) Gift Card Design Competition recently called on student creatives to enter their designs. Entrants were required to create a series of four gift cards, complete with packaging, for use across the group's sixteen retail brands including Luella, Due South and Foschini. Up for grabs? A R25 000 TFG gift card and R10 000 for the winner's college.
With the competition's top twenty announcement due on 30 May, we caught up with one of the competition judges, trend analyst Dion Chang. Here, he offers his insight into the competition:
In broad terms, what would you describe as the relevance of student designers to the fashion industry?
In the design industry in general, the South African government has placed an emphasis on promoting mathematics and science and on academic qualifications, and less on humanities. Because of this we are starting to miss out on an essential creative link. Globally there is a trend called ‘design thinking’ which relies far more on right brain thinking to solve increasingly complex problems in the 21st century. I think for student designers we need to push that design button harder because innovation is the fuel of a new world order.
Winning this competition will undoubtedly increase visibility for a young designer. To what extent do you think it will fast track their career?
I think, any of these platforms is going to give a helping hand as it is really difficult for people in the creative field to make a career – or to create a business – within the design industry without assistance in terms of business or infrastructure. With the TFG (The Foschini Group) Gift Card Design Competition, the student will be able to fast track on the back of a national chain, in terms of distribution, customers, and benefit from that knock-on effect. The student could not ask for a better prize.
As a judge in the competition, what design qualities do you deem valuable?
We are in the age of information overload, where subliminal plagiarism is a curse, so you are going to look for designs that are not referenced strongly from another designers work, whether it is an artist, fashion designer, graphic or furniture designer. It is really difficult in this day and age, so I will be looking for very new and fresh designs but the design that will stand out the most would need to have a sense of humour. It is things that are funny that makes people remember in the digital era. It is important to have a quirkiness, in design generically – and specifically to cards, you need to have a wicked sense of humour.
You can track the competition by visiting the TFG website, here.
Winners will be announced on 30 August.