Durban’s 031 Collection: with Tiffany Prior

So with just ONE WEEK to go… we are all waiting with much anticipation to see what the DURBAN designers have for us! Here is what Tiffany Prior  (Partner of ICE MODELS   and the brains, together with Alice Zejglic, behind the 031 Collection) had to say about the 031 Collection and how it came about… enjoy and let me know what you think!

HOW DID THE 031COLLECTION COME ABOUT?…

The 031 Collection is kind of like the baby essentially of myself and my partner, Alice Zejglic, who has her own business S&A marketing. Alice and I have, for a number of years, wanted to get this project off the ground. We were both very, very deeply involved with the Durban Designer Collection for many years and it was an absolute passion of mine.

 I personally do a lot of production. I work with designers, not just here but around the country. I work closely with the SA fashion Week office, I’m the fashion program director for Vodacom Durban July, so fashion is what I do… I’ve been in business a long, long time but it’s always been for me, very much so, about Durban Fashion or Durban Designers. I say this coming from a very strong place: if you look at Durban designers who are based in Durban, first of all it’s not Cape Town or Joburg and they have managed to sustain businesses and grow their careers, coming out of Durban, which means they’ve got to have something pretty amazing going for them!

You’ve got people like Colleen Eitzen, Amanda Laird Cherry and Leigh Schubert. Colleen and Amanda are partners in the ‘Space’ – they’ve got 9 retail stores now. It’s one of the most successful, independent chains in the country! They are Durban Designers and that’s how it started and that’s how the ‘Space’ launched solely on Durban Designers and the biggest sellers are Durban Designers. You’ve got people like Terrence Bray, who does amazing things. He dresses a future princess; his works have been on covers of magazines, like ‘Hello’. Very recently, people like Leigh Schubert, Colleen, and Terrence have sold into Nordstrom, in the States. The Holmes Brothers, who are independent, have just opened two more stores around the country. These are people who show regularly on Fashion weeks and they are actually the darlings of the shows.

I think you’ve got to acknowledge that something, quite serious comes from Durban. We know we have designers that do the fashion weeks and so on, but we want to put them on a platform that shouts DURBAN! I wanted to reintroduce an immerging designer category, because so many of that group of people came from, what we call the New Designer or New Generation category in DDC and there has been no platform for five years. So our future designers, or stars, have not been given a voice and so we wanted to give them a voice again.

HOW DID MR PRICE BECOME INVOLVED?

We approached Mr Price because I have worked with them for 20 years (I hate saying that but I have!) They are a Durban based retailer, the most accessible apparel retailers in the country, this is their home. They benefit from the design talent and young talent that Durban produces within their own organization and Durban is their heritage. We pitched the idea to them and they absolutely loved it. They loved the idea of new designers!

CHOOSING AGYNESS DEYN…

We decided, and we chatted, how do we make this bigger than anything we’ve ever done and how do we make sure that the media, they will come anyway because they respect the designers, but how do we make them go ‘What have they done?’ I researched a few people who I thought Mr Price would be interested in. They have a very specific hand writing, a very specific vision. Nicky Pollock (MD), Louise Holmes (marketing director) and the trend executive, Jay Quello; they have a very clear vision for their business and I said ‘What about Agyness Deyn?’ this is who she is etc. People see Agyness Deyn as a supermodel but she is fifty times more than that she has so much street cred, theres a whole group of girls who dress like her. She’s dabbled in music , she’s dabbled in DJing, she’s the creative director of a website www.naag.com– amazing creative website! She is in movies: she was in “Clash of the Titans” and when she leaves here, she goes to start filming on another project. She’s been known to be very down to earth and that’s what makes her such a right fit for a brand like Mr Price and I can tell you now, Durban hasn’t had this much support from any other sponsor  and I reall,y really mean that. From the way they have been dealing with the media,to everything else. They really, really have come to the party.

Only certain people have been granted interviews with Agness, so it’s very select. She will also be going to see one of the Red Cap Foundation schools.  A portion of whatever she sells in the store goes to a Red Cap Foundation. She’s quite excited about that, because I think that is something that is becoming more important to her. She will be doing a couple of things with Mr Price and other things related to 031. She’ll get here, have day of rest – she’s staying at a great hotel, which I can’t tell you! Agness have never been to SA before. She’s been to Tanzania for the OXFAM PROJECT and Namibia, but this will be her first time to South Africa. (So her first time to SA will be to Durban-How cool is that!!)

MODELS…

There is a huge model team, 37 models plus about 20 independent models. All Durban models, all have runway experience, they know what they are doing. For the girls there is no one under 175-181cm. Guys have to be about 6 foot. There are no new faces on the runway – it’s too big an event! We had to make sure all the measurements were right – it’s all about proportion in runway, you want clothes to look good. So we have a great variety of models.

THE 031 EVENT…

We have decided that this is not a fashion week. I’m over fashion week, although fashion weeks are fabulous! Our show is about entertainment and showing how fabulous fashion can be. So we have an insane team; lighting designer, sound engineer to help redesign sound, amazing AV! We want to create a mood. Each designer will have a creative vision that they want to follow. They’ve all been told no one can show anything that’s been shown anywhere before, so whatever you see on the 031 production  is all 100% new. And we’ve asked them to be very creative, don’t just be ‘basic ready to wear’ you can do anything, so do it!

The show is about an hour long. There are 16 designers in one show and we open with a Mr Price Styled by AGYNESS DEYN. She’s working in collaboration with Mr Price. They are creating a collection, just for her that she will show and at some point we will retail in the store. Each designer has a definte hand writing, you are not going to get bored! There is going to be some extraordinary work. It is a repeat show every night, there are 400 tickets on sale per night. We wanted you to be able to walk in any night and get the same show! Although Saturday night is prize giving where we announce the winner, Agyness Deyn will be handing over the prize. 

MEDIA…

…And you’ve got every big name in the fashion media coming; it’s been blogged all over! We have Top Billing, etV and more, all the cameras are there!

 The young designers (new designers) are being judged by Agness Deyn, Joanne Coelho from MR PRICE, Leigh Schubert, Miss Milli, and you have Lucilla Booysen. So we have this amazing panel. I can’t even think of a stronger panel for something like this. The winner, well you can’t argue with a panel like that!

VENUE…

‘The Shed’, as we call it! (33 COBHAM GROVE) Alice and I found this venue and we’ve had it under wraps for a while. We both have had the same vision for this event. People were saying ‘Can you imagine, driving down and then suddenly this glass marquee, which is the bar, and then ‘The Shed’ and you walk in – it’s this completely different venue! Durban hasn’t seen a show like this for a while. DDC was 27 years when it finished its’ last show-people loved it! But we want to create a whole new generation, with a sponsor who is really excited to buy into and has bought into and really excited to grow it and them looking long term and not just a Durban event but an event that we can take to other places. It’s for the audience, it’s for the public.

 SOME WORDS OF WISDOM FOR US…

Fashion is a strange animal – it really is! The most important thing about fashion is its FUN! Don’t take it seriously. If it’s a career you want to follow, understand what you are getting into and know that it requires an enormous amount of work and dedication and experience. Always look at things with an open mind, if you are going to a show like this, sit back and open your mind and understand that designers have in their head, a thought or idea and they take this idea and they grow it and research it but when you see a collection there is great thought behind it. It’s not just random. Respect the process, because it is an amazing process and it takes many, many hours and lots of time and dedication. Just respect it, thats the most important thing!

TICKETS…

Book through COMPUTICKET…quick!!!! And watch this space for a peak into the night of the show, Citylove will be there taking pics and I will be sitting back and enjoying the glamorous show that is the 031 Collection…too excited!