Brutal Fruit Fashion Talk by Gert Johan Coetzee.
1st Year fashion student, Kalib Monroe attended the Fashion Talk that was hosted by North West School of Design’s Platinum Fashion Festival on Friday 6 November 2015. Kalib shares his experience:
“When NWSD announced that it will be showcasing student collections from its very own chifferobe at the 2nd Platinum Fashion Festival, the entire fashion industry knew that perfection will be walking the runway.
But the prestigious college put a twist to the normal fashion shows we are used to watching. They included a hair show, a Brutal Fruit Fashion talk and pop up shops that had everything for the fashionista’s 911 glamour kit.
Gert-Johan Coetzee, the vivacious celebrity designer was the key-note speaker of the Brutal Fruit Fashion Talk, elaborating on the business of fashion and his experience within the industry. Coetzee’s designs have graced the red carpet countless times worn by only the elite of the celebrity inner circle.
When the talk started Coetzee didn’t speak at his audience, he spoke to them. The formalities were thrown out the window and Coetzee engaged in a conversation with his audience. One of the highlights of the talk was when Coetzee said “ I am you!... I sat where you are sitting now, dreaming of becoming the next Alexander McQueen “. Not only does this prove that Coetzee understands the hopes and dreams of a fashion student, it shows that he is humble and as a NWSD graduate, he understands the hard work that goes into each garment.
A smile, followed by a laugh as Coetzee continues with the, and I dare say it, enlightening fashion talk with the most life changing advice.
He started by speaking about marketing. That it is crucial to market yourself in the right way. Everyone may know your name, but not all of them can afford the clothing you’re presenting.
Gert Johan Coetzee also stressed that we have to be sure that all our systems are in place. When Alexander McQueen died, his brand did not falter, because the business had systems in place “
Coetzee added that garment quality is of the up-most importance, and Coetzee knows this all too well as he studied under the firm hand of Marlene Oosthuizen, the principal of North West School of Design.
One of the most inspiring things Coetzee could have said that afternoon was that when you find yourself in a difficult situation, you have to adapt and change your attitude into a positive one, and only then you will succeed in the task at hand.
The topic of the talk was “ my top 5 fashion ideas “ in which Coetzee spoke about his own predicaments within the industry. He advised his audience and the students of NWSD to always be kind towards one another and potential business colleagues. If you’re kind towards another, chances that they would want to do business with you again is guaranteed.
We as fashion design students will know that the key to creating a successful garment is learning. Learning new techniques, new ways of working with a fabric you’ve been feuding with for so long. And this is exactly what Coetzee advised. “Never be afraid to learn more. Fashion is ever evolving, thus we need to adapt with it and learn its new ways “said Coetzee.
Not only was this an exciting time for each audience member, it was enlightening, inspiring and at most educational. Coetzee has sat where the NWSD students are sitting now. He had the same dreams, the same hopes and the same struggles each fashion design student has had thus far. He is not just another designer that came and spoke down to an audience and told them the do’s and don’ts of fashion, he is an individual who can connect with these students like no other designer can.
Power Couple SA contestants, Emile and Razia Samson also grazed the event with their presence interacting on a Question and Answer session with students. Emile is a Visual Merchandiser at one of South Africa's largest retailers and has had the chance to experience many spheres of the retail industry from sales floor work to boutique ownership, Brand management as well as operationally taking care of scores of stores from a visual perspective. Razia is currently a Human Resource Recruiter for the fashion industry with over 20 years experience in the fashion industry modelling, fashion retail and recruitment.
Emile spoke about the visual merchandising world and how as this is his field of expertize, and Razia spoke about recruitment. They answered the questions of NWSD students, advising them to continue with their studies and taking part in internships over the holidays so that they may gain knowledge about the retail world.
Some of the other Mzanzi Celebs who Attended the event
Jay Anstey and Gert-Johan Coetzee
Zareef Minty and Partner
Akhona (Noted Fashion)
Some Behind The Scenes action
Dana Pretorius (Fire Wagon Media)