In its fifth successful year of accelerating young fashion designers into established brands, AFI Fastrack™ 2015 is at the pinnacle for this year’s four finalists vying for the much desired AFI Young Designer of the Year title.

AFI’s incubation and acceleration programme, AFI Fastrack™, kicked off at the beginning of the year seeing hundreds of entries received from SA’s finest and fresh fashion designers applying to enter the programme.

AFI, remaining committed to guiding and progressing young talent into honed and successful business entrepreneurs, were tasked with a stringent judging process where only twelve entrants were chosen. The pressure mounted with the high calibre of entries received and bore testament to the evolving talent from the fashion industry.

AFI’s twelve 2015 shortlisted contestants outlined below showcased their collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ) in March.


Thebe Magugu, Martelle Ludik, Siviwe James, Mich Taute and Neo Mofammere, all from LISOF in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

Nthabiseng Molefe and Fatima Patel from Durban University of Technology in Durban;

Armand Dicker from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth;

Arnold Phasha from Tshwane University of Technology in Tshwane;

Tsepo Tsotetsi from Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein,

Caylin Wilsnach from Cape Town College of Fashion Design in Cape Town;

Melissa Wynne from Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town.


Martelle Ludik, Ntabiseng Molefe, Thebe Magugu and Armand Dicker took top place and were selected as the top four AFI Fastrack™ 2015 finalists.


The next step was a four-month intensive mentorship under the direction of established designers Marianne Fassler, Rich Mnisi, Thula Sindi and Justine Coetzer who worked closely with the AFI Fastrack™ finalists teaching them the tricks of the trade. They were provided direct exposure to studio environments and production processes leaving them with a snapshot into the business of fashion.

Imparting first-hand knowledge and skills from established designers proves invaluable to emerging designers, leaving the four AFI Fastrack™ finalists geared with more passion to battle for the title of AFI Young Designer of 2015.

Apart from the prestige of being the 2015 winner, the designer receives a cash prize and show slot at Next Gen 2016. Next Gen is AFI’s next step to investing in AFI Fastrack™ winners. Previous successful designers who launched their careers at AFI Fastrack™ include Rich Mnisi of Oath, Eleni Labrou of Akedo, Jenevieve Lyons and Khotatso Tsotetsi of KL Tsotetsi.

On the 24th of November the judging process for the four AFI Fastrack™ finalists will be conducted by Jenny Andrew (Stylist and Contributing Fashion Editor of Wanted Magazine); Anisa Mpungwe (Loincloth and Ashes Founder and Designer); Sandra Rogers (Edcon Executive Manager for Trend and Design); Caileigh Davis (AFI Fastrack™ programme manager) and Jess Lupton (Gaschette Magazine’s Fashion Editor).

The 25th of November 2015 sees the grand finale for our four AFI Fastrack™ finalists taking to the ramp showcasing their creations. The event will take place at the new and stylish Hyde Park venue – The Park- and is a by invite only event.

Makeup creations will be done by M.A.C, while hair will be styled by BLo hairdressing. Gaschette Magazine is the New Faces of Joburg model partner for the evening. GGDA (Gauteng Growth and Development Agency) is the Programme Sponsor for 2015.

African Fashion International will also be hosting Elle on their platform for Elle Rising Star – Elle’s developmental program on the 25th November 2015.

AFI are confident that the evening not only promises innovation from the best of SA’s emerging fashion design talent, but will leave other aspirant designers who wish to grow and launch their fashion design careers applying for AFI Fastrack™ 2016.