Congratulations to Trenery’s Print Competition winner, Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, and runners-up Primrose Charmz and Agrippa Hlophe.
All three designers’ prints feature internationally in Trenery’s Autumn/Winter 2021 collection, in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Launched in February last year, the Print Competition was born out of Trenery’s mission to continue its support of emerging South African talent,
with entry open exclusively to local artists and designers. “The entries surpassed our wildest imaginations,” adds Bree Dhaliwal, Senior Textile Designer on Trenery’s Australian team, who worked with the winners to bring their prints to life. “Glorinah was chosen as the eventual winner, because her print is bold and eye-catching yet stays true to Trenery’s ethos of timeless, modern simplicity.”
The competition follows on from The Trenery Guild, a collaborative project that partnered Trenery with some of South Africa’s leading
creative minds, including tea artisan Swaady Martin, furniture designer David Krynauw, and founder of Imiso Ceramics Zizipho Poswa. Each artist was asked to interpret and celebrate the brand’s anchors of premium fabrication, unique prints, craftsmanship and considered
quality through commissioned artworks and in-store activations.
“Trenery has made it a priority to support young, creative South African talent,” explains Elouise Brink, Trenery’s Senior Marketing Manager in South Africa. “African fabrics often tell a story – bright colours and patterns represent beliefs, traditions and desires. It [made sense] for us to look to our local design community for inspiration, and to use this competition as an opportunity to showcase local talent on a global platform.”
GLORINAH KHUTSO MABASO
A pattern designer hailing from Mamelodi West, Pretoria, Mabaso creates abstract geometric designs that draw on her love of history and ancient civilisations. “I want tocreate visual archives that are reflective of the African story but still find a space in the modern world, and in the luxury world,” she says.
The 31-year-old’s winning print, ‘Rain Maker’, pays homage to the first Rain Queen, Maselekwane Modjadji, ruler of the Balobedu people from Limpopo (1800-1854). Modjadji was believed to possess mystical powers. “She was a respected leader in an era when women were not given leadership positions in society,” she explains. “What I found really interesting and appealing was the fact that she could make it rain. What queen do you know of that can make it rain?!
“I really enjoyed the process of rediscovering this powerful female dynasty. Trenery literally gave me an incredible platform to represent and visually re-awaken the heritage of these people. What an absolute honour to celebrate ancient queens!” says Mabaso.
PRIMROSE CHARMZ & AGRIPPA HLOPHE
Primrose Charmz was born in Zimbabwe but has called South Africa home for the past 20 years. A multidisciplinary artist and pattern designer by trade, her ‘Arum Geo’
print is one of six patterns Charmz submitted to the competition. “South Africa is known for its rich diversity and abundance of flora and fauna. I thought the Arum Lily would be a good print because the plant is endemic to the country,” she explains.
Charmz, 29, was fascinated by the process of transforming her two-dimensional pattern into wearable fashion. “It was super cool to see how the pattern is translated on fabric, in terms of scale, and how the colours are edited to fit the brand,” she says.
Agrippa Hlophe, a 31-year-old graphic designer from Durban, found the inspiration for his print, ‘Gold Mile’, on a visit to the Golden Mile beachfront. “Every time I walked past the street market, I noticed African women selling beadwork with beautiful patterns,” he explains.
“A traditional African earplug design really caught my eye, featuring four triangles shaped like a simplified version of the sun.
I incorporated the triangles into my design to give a traditional African pattern a modern look and feel.”
FROM DESIGN TO PRINT
All three winners worked one-on-one with Trenery’s Australia-based design team. During their sessions, each designer gained insight into the step-by-step process involved in transitioning their designs into screen or digitally printed fabric, and finally into pieces for Trenery’s Autumn 2021 collection.
As part of her prize, Mabaso has won an all-expenses-paid trip to France to attend a two-week print, textile and design course at the Paris College of Art. As runnersup, Charmz and Hlophe have each won a tuition-paid online short course in Fashion Textile Design at world-renowned college Central Saint Martins in London, to help further their design careers.
“You just never think that, one day, you [will share] something that you created – in your bedroom – with the whole world,” says Mabaso. “It feels amazing to win.”
Charmz agrees. “I just loved seeing the final product. I’ve never had a print placed on apparel before. It was a new experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.” Hlophe adds, “I start all my designs on paper, then scan my design to a computer. I never think about how it will look on fabric. Now I’m thinking about fashion or textile design as possible career avenues. I’m very proud of what I’ve created!”