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Mr Price new talent search winner in collaboration with SA Fashion week chats to Glamour

Cyla Gonsolves, winner of the talent search competition chats to Glamour about her win and the inspiration behind her collection. We also had the opportunity to speak to the Mr. Price judges about their selection process and what’s next for the brand.

As part of their partnership with SA Fashion week as the Fashion Retail Partner, they are the sponsors of the Mr Price New Talent Search and the forthcoming Mr Price Scouting Menswear Competition. Three representatives from Mr Price sat on the judging panel including; Amber Jones, Head of Buying, Sanele Zulu, Head of Menswear Buying and Vasti Mcloed, Merch Collab Manager.

Photographer: Eunice Driver Photogrpahy/ Cyla Gonsolves- SA Fashion Week

Here’s what Cyla had to say:

Q: Congratulations on winning this competition. Can you share what this win means to you?

A: I have been dreaming of winning the New Talent Search from when The Elle Rising Star started years ago. I still have to pinch myself when I see my award displayed in my studio. Two of my mentors won this award and I couldn’t be more proud to be the next in line.

Q: Can you describe your collection and the inspiration behind it?

A: The name of my collection for the New Talent Search competition is called “ NO WASTING WONDERLAND”. For this collection it’s all about REDUCE , REUSE and RECYCLE . I deconstructed all my previous fashion show garments and reconstructed them in an exquisite Wonderland Transeasonal Collection.

We used beautiful sheer fabrics like embroidered lace , custom print silk organza , soft tulle and machine pressed pleated tulle in my previous collections and gave them a complete new look. All of the garments were coloured into shades of purple and yellow to give the collection a cohesive look.

Parts of the garments were deconstructed and hand work was done onto the new garments to create these beautiful ZERO WASTE pieces.

I also created my own fabric by using real pressed flowers from the farm and a layer of silicone to create a unique gloss textured fabric. We also printed our own pressed flower design onto organza and silk . A doodle flower digital print was also printed onto the silk organza pieces.

Hand punch embroidery was done on most of the garments to enhance the flower petal pattern detail .

Let’s stop WASTING and start creating Wonderland. #ZERO WASTE

Q: The prize includes having your collection in Mr Price stores. Have you processed what this means?

A: Reality only started kicking in when I officially got the email to start designing my ready to wear collection that will be sold in Mr Price stores . I'm beyond excited to see my designs in one of the biggest fashion retailers in South Africa . This is truly the most amazing opportunity a young designer can get.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring young designers?

A: Advice I can give to aspiring young designers is to learn as much as you can from other designers, and do as many internships as you can. Experience is key in this industry.
Take the risk and enter design competitions, it could be a life changing experience

Q: As a young designer would you say having a plan for your career is important or do you believe in an organic unfolding of your career. As you work, opportunities arrive?

A: Since starting my own business in 2018, I’ve set goals for myself and my brand. I believe it’s important to push yourself to become better and to achieve the dreams that you have for your brand and yourself. I have a vision board in my studio to remind myself what I’m working towards and to motivate me to never give up.

Image: Supplied

Mr Price Team Interview

Q: What was it about Cyla’s collection that swayed the vote in her favour?

A: We loved her fresh approach to silhouettes and prints. The range evoked a sense of fun and youthfulness that really resonated with us – Sanele Zulu.

Q: Mr Price is a beloved South African brand, why is it important for you to partner with SA Fashion week and the New Talent Search competition?

A: As a brand with a focus on the youth, we have always been a supporter of local design talent in South Africa. With SAFW, we have the opportunity to magnify and provide a wider platform for them and give these young designers the tools to be successful in the fashion industry after the event – Amber Jones.

Q: Can you share your selection process with us?

A: The judges received the entrant’s mood boards, from which we individually scored them on different criteria. The semi-finalists were announced and had some time to make up their ranges. Thereafter we met the designers at the fittings, assessed the ranges on models, making some suggestions and listening to each designer’s story and inspiration behind the range. On the day of the show, we had one last look at the designs and made our final decision – Vasti Mcloed.

Q: What are the qualities that you look for in an aspiring designer aside from talent?

A: (We consider their work ethic, their passion for what they do, longevity of their brand and willingness to learn – Amber Jones.

Q: The Mr Price brand has evolved from a fashion brand to include beauty and skincare. What is next for the brand?

A: You will have to watch this space… - Sanele Zulu.

Cyla Gonsolves’ limited-edition range with Mr Price will be available online, on the Mr Price app and in selected stores later this year. Entries for the Mr Price Scouting Menswear search will open on 24 May 2023, with the finalists showcasing their designs in October 2023 at SA Fashion Week.

Photographer: Eunice Driver Photogrpahy/ Cyla Gonsolves- SA Fashion Week

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