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Pretoria designer wins the Trenery Print competition

Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, Image: Supplied
Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, Image: Supplied

Pretoria based designer Glorinah Khutso Mabaso has been named the winner of the Trenery 2020 Print Competition. Glorinah’s ’s winning print, named “Rain Maker”, was inspired by the first Rain Queen, Maselekwane Modjadji, of the Balobedu people from Limpopo. Her design utilizes a combination of repetitive lines and circles to reflect raindrops running down a glass window.

The interior designer, Glorinah chats to GLAMOUR about the competition, design trends and her future in fashion.

GLAMOUR: Hi Glorinah, congratulations on winning the Trenery Print Competition, what does this win mean to you?

Glorinah: Hi Glamour! Thank you so much! It's extremely humbling to receive such huge validation from an international brand. I'm so excited to venture into new territory which means growth. I never imagined myself stepping into fashion but this opportunity has changed my perspective because of the avenues I discovered during this process.

GLAMOUR: And tell us about your experience in the competition?

Glorinah: Collaborating with the Trenery design team was enlightening, extremely insightful and exciting too. I had a one-on-one with Bree Dhaliwal – Head of textile at Trenery in Australia regarding the various processes both digital & screen printing. Then we also tackled textiles used for Trenery garments, how some of their natural materials such as the cotton (which they grow), Irish linen, wool, viscose are made. For my patterns Trenery has gone for a sustainable Eco Vera viscose & standard viscose blend – viscose being a material that comes from a tree specifically wood pulp…how interesting is that? Stylish & eco-friendly - so the collection is blue but actually green too.

GLAMOUR: When did you know that you want to work in the design space and tell us a little bit about your early influences?

Glorinah: Two words. Top Billing! I grew up literally watching almost every episode as I was always drawn to beautiful spaces and the skill of transforming a space just intrigued me. Msquare interiors & architecture by Nico Van der Meulen, SAOTA interior design and Tonic design influenced my design taste and that is the standard I've always wanted to measure my ability against. So, when I had to change schools back in high school, the new Principal said that the only way I could get accepted was if I took design as a subject…and so I jumped at the chance. Then after matric, I went on to obtain a Diploma in Interior Decorating and a BA Degree in Interior Design. Pattern design became a skill which I discovered only in 2017.

Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, Image: Supplied

GLAMOUR: Describe yourself in four words?

Glorinah: Strong, driven, God-fearing, adventurous.

GLAMOUR: You are an interior design and decorating graduate of the Design School of Southern Africa, and you are familiar with working alongside architects, how do you navigate interior design, pattern design and now fashion?

Glorinah: Whilst studying Interior Design, the course actually touches on a number of avenues which one could specialise in. So even though we would receive briefs to design spaces from corporate and hospitality to residential, we were also pushed to design furniture, patterns, lighting and other products. This allowed us to identify our strengths and to encourage versatility. So even though fashion is for the physical body and not space, I'm still having to dress both and apply the same principles, especially during the design process.

GLAMOUR: Your winning “Rain Maker” print is inspired by a unique female-led dynasty in Limpopo province in a place called Ga-Modjadji, tell us about this story and how it came to influence your print?

Glorinah: As a young lady I've always been inspired by strong women in leadership positions. A woman's role in society is just as powerful as the rain in the cycle of life. I decided to research the Modjadji Queens who are now recognised by the State as leaders of the only Queendom in SA. I thought I should dedicate this print to the 1st Rain Queen Maselekwane Modjadji who ruled in the 1800s during a time when women were hardly recognised as leaders. Of course, the fact that she could really make it RAIN also intrigued me! I visualised the effect of raindrops falling onto a glass surface, creating streaks which I translated into various linear lines playing with thicknesses & height. I then included circles to represent the rain droplets and to strike a balance in the composition. This resulted in a bold striped like pattern, inspired by a Trenery outfit.

GLAMOUR: An exciting opportunity awaits you at the renowned Paris College of Arts where you will spend two weeks, what are you looking forward to the most?

Glorinah: Definitely the new skills I'm going to acquire! I can't wait to be exposed to a different culture and meeting new creatives outside of SA. Of course, France is the Mecca of design - even history can't argue that, so finally getting to experience some of the places I've travelled to (ON MY COUCH) is epic!

GLAMOUR: And what are some of your plans to utilise this opportunity to the fullest?

Glorinah: I think the 2-week course will enable me to establish a well thought through plan with regards to the direction I would like to take. My interest in textiles and focusing on merging my modern African aesthetic with that of high-end brands can no longer be silenced...and the fashion industry is a perfect platform to express and share African history.

GLAMOUR: Besides the Ga-Modjadji influence, what influences your designs and your design process?

Glorinah: I'm strongly influenced by the history of ancient tribal culture, sounds, textures, patterns, dance, and architecture which we gather through research. I either read books, online articles, watch documentaries or have actual conversations with people from these ancient tribes, so that they become real to me before I even start the pattern designing process.

GLAMOUR: The pandemic has introduced many changes into the way we live, work and interact with each other. Has this had an impact on your creativity and the way you approach design in general?

Glorinah: My creativity is still on the same level...on a high! Pattern design has a great advantage as it doesn't require manufacturing, packaging or delivery - just the brief, the designs and a reliable internet connection. A bespoke print can easily be sent digitally to a client - they would then execute it onto their surface or fabric of choice (if the interior, product or fashion designer just wants a unique print). Many businesses are gravitating more towards the digital space and already my virtual meetings have resulted in actual successful projects and products. I'd also like to supply more products online for convenience, to grow my target market whilst enhancing my visibility.

GLAMOUR: What are some design trends we can look out for in 2021?

Glorinah: Due to the pandemic, people have spent so much time indoors, some even started to re-adjust their homes - since the space we would come home to is now our office, gym, entertainment, zen space, amongst other things. I think comfortable living is key and the introduction of brighter colours can contribute to uplifting our spirits in our home environments. The Pantone colours for 2021 are a great example of how light colours can be married with muted tones to achieve a look that speaks to individuality.

GLAMOUR: Words of encouragement for aspiring designers?

Glorinah: Starting anything comes with challenges and you are the only one that can decide whether to endure, listen, learn and evolve or simply give into external voices. Your offering matters to the world because everyone has been gifted with something, but when you haven't attuned yourself with that thing you can easily feel like you have nothing. Be confident, speak freely, be yourself and surround yourself with people who understand your worth and vision.

*Shop the Trenery Print Competition design capsule in-store and online from today (Feb 1)

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