18 Aug LOVE SOLDIER
This week the contestants were back at the studio reflecting on Frank’s departure. For most of them it was a shock to see him to go, and many commented on how they though he would actually make it all the way through the competition. His departure proves that nothing is set in stone in this show, and that the only thing the Interns could rely on is that the unexpected would keep on happening!
Nico had a quick catch-up with the remaining contestants on how they were all feeling at this stage of the competition, and then promptly whisked them away to their next challenge, heading off to the Edcon head offices. This was not their first time visiting this same location, and the two guest judges were familiar faces to them. The team walked up the stairs and David was waiting for them along with two other lovely ladies. David was wearing a hairnet, but no one mentioned a word about it! Nico introduced Chaz from the previous Jet challenge, and Bongi, who is one of Edcon’s success stories from the development programme run by Edcon. She joined Edcon after graduation and worked her way up to become the Ladies Wear Trend designer.
The task of a Jet Trends Consultant was then explained to the contestants. They help buyers interpret trends in such a way as to make them become commercial to the business and relevant to Jet customers. “The most important thing for a Jet trend consultant is to always keep the customers at the centre of everything,” they were told. David chose this challenge to teach the contestants that fashion isn’t just about couture, designer dresses and ‘razz-ma-tazz’. Products have to be sellable and easy to manufacture, which although may seem obvious, is an aspect that can sometimes be forgotten by the creative mind. An important lesson indeed.
This week’s challenge was ‘ready-to-wear’, and contestants had to designing six pieces for Jet stores revolving around the theme ‘Love Soldier’, speaking to the Born-Free generation. It needed to embrace femininity and well as adhere to the price points of the retailer. A toughie of a challenge for sure! David then sent them off to create 20 working sketches from which they’d decide from there on the six final looks.
Bongi and Chaz then explained to the contestants that the theme ‘Love Soldier’ means celebrating women and their strength, and emphasised that staying within the price point to manufacture will be the crucial point on which the judges would decide which of the Interns had met and fulfilled the brief. David sent them off to a Masterclass to get all the info they needed. Bongi and Chaz showed them current lines of clothing and explained the thought process behind the selection of all of them. Jet customers are about price, femininity and sustainable fashion. Contestants were quick to ask critical questions to help them nail down what the judges would be looking for, and to help them with their design concepts.
The contestants were given 3 days to complete their capsule range, and Chaz and Bongi sent the contestants on their way back to the studio to start sketching, reminding them at the last minute their designs should be aimed at inclusion in the Spring/Summer collection.
The contestants immediately knuckled down and got hard to work with their sketches, but it was obvious to everyone that they were finding it a bit tricky to come up with the perfect looks that met the brief. Enter David, who arrived to inspect the sketches and give the contestants feedback and guidance on selecting their top 6 designs. By this stage the Interns – or many of them, at least – were confident on what they presented to him, but they were in for a surprise, and David promptly put them in their place, highlighting flaws, suggesting ingenious additions or removals to their sketches, or simply telling them they were missing the mark. David then sent them off to work on their samples for his approval. The pressure was back on in the studio! The fabrics arrived and the contestants immediately set about making their selections, bearing in mind that their collections have to be cohesive. Everyone was instantly on Sam’s case because he selected the camouflage fabric.
For the past 3 weeks, David has pushed the contestants to think outside of the box, and now with this challenge they have to instantly think inside of the box again. Once more, it was a reminder of the ever-changing world of fashion, and opened the Interns’ eyes to how the industry operates and what it takes to be a success in it. David walked around the room assessing their fabric choices – cutting quite the intimidating figure! Most of his feedback was hard, but there was soft feedback here and there. That said, we can all agree it was entirely constructive for all the contestants. And then there came the last minute addition to the challenge that David adds to bring spice to the show and to really draw the full potential of the contestants out; ALL 6 pieces had to go on 3 models, which meant that the pieces have to work together! That meant that some contestants have to re-sketch and redesign their outfits from scratch.
And as if this week’s challenge wasn’t already set to push the Interns to their limits, contestants were told they also had to select from the wide range of Jet accessories to find pieces that would work with and enhance their creations, and that the accessories would count towards the overall assessment of their looks! So now time was even more of the essence in this challenge! Needless to say, the contestants freaked out, but David reiterated that he was pushing them to drive home the point that in the real life world of fashion and design, things change at the last minute, and successful designers are the ones who are able to adapt with the changes and roll with them! The Interns got straight to work with their changes and additions.
David then arrived with Bongi from Jet to have a look and add final critiques and guidance. The pressure was on to finish their samples so they can do the fitting and get valuable feedback from David and the other judges. But David was tough on the contestants after they arrived in the lounge and only brought out one look because they only had one model. David, visibly irritated, asked where the rest of the samples were, since the challenge was for 6 outfits. Then the contestants arrived with their designs all bundled up in their arms, and that’s when perfectionist David lost it! He asked why their designs weren’t on hangers and on rails, a basic tenet in fashion. Michalene particularly felt his wrath when he told her that her skirt didn’t have stretch. David asked how the model was going to get into the skirt, and she replied, “She’s not gonna eat.” Not a good move on her part, for sure, and she soon realised that David was not impressed with this joke.
Overall, David and the judges were not happy with the designs so far. The judges’ feedback was that there were a few nice items, but they were worried that there wasn’t one complete look at that crucial time. David echoed their concerns, and gave them 45 minutes to finish their garments, to iron and pack, and he said they would meet him and the other judges at Jet in Rosebank at exactly 16h00! And that old friend, Pressure, returned to the studio!
The contestants were understandably tired and stressed out, but time – and David – waits for no one, and exactly 45 minutes later, David walked in and chased them out to get to Jet in Rosebank on time! They arrived at Rosebank and they had to style their models and put their looks together. They went through to the Jet store to select accessories to complete their looks. The deadline was 17h30 for review and elimination.
David and the judges took their seats (in David’s case, his throne!) in Jet Rosebank and got a chance to review the looks on the models and the mannequins and then the judging commenced.
The top looks were:
Sam and Kuena
The winner is Sam. Jet has also decided to manufacture his designs and they will hit retail rails by September. They will also be manufacturing Kuena’s dresses.
Falling off the seams: