Gert-Johan Coetzee continues with his annual bursary giveaway (since 2010), and applications are now open for 2015.
As the entries open, the young wishing to cultivate a career in fashion will be covered for a full three years of studying a BA in Fashion Design at the North West School of Design (Klerksdorp) – where Coetzee graduated in 2005.
“Being able to work in fashion is all I ever wanted to do, and it’s a privilege that makes me happy every day of my life. I want to pass on this same opportunity to someone young, talented and hungry for success,” says Coetzee.
Driving the bursary beyond just study fees is the inclusion of material and equipment required, and that includes a Bernina sewing machine and over-locker. Coetzee also sets time aside to mentor the winner in his studio, in Linden, Johannesburg.
“There is such opportunity in the SA fashion industry to make a successful career if you have the drive, talent and the willingness to work hard; and it’s an honour to be able to help one other aspirant achieve their dream,” adds Coetzee.
One winner, who is realising his dream, is Quincy Thabang, who is currently doing his first year.
“I’m learning how to identify, manage and develop new ideas because it’s not enough to just be a talented designer. I’ve learnt so much in this short period of time, and I can only image how much more I’ll learn in the next two years,” says Thabang.
Thabang has had the opportunity to experience large-scale production in Coetzee’s studio, where he says he’s learned the importance of time management.
As you enter, it is important to compile personal documents, including a motivational letter and red-carpet sketch-work, under the theme 15 Shades of Style. It is Coetzee and his publicist, Melinda Shaw, who will interview the top seven finalist during the school’s Platinum Fashion Festival. The winner will later be announced at the festival’s gala event on November 8.
“I’m looking for someone who blows me away with their passion, raw talent and proven aptitude for design. If you are dedicated and will go the extra mile to achieve your goal, you may be the next winner,” says Coetzee.