Gert-Johan Coetzee is known for making the A-listers steal the show at events such as the Durban July, but in between making glorious gowns, the designer is now searching for two new students to benefit from his three-year bursary programme. And after Gert-Johan challenged other businesses to invest in education, the luxury boutique Luminance has added a third bursary to the programme!
Applications have just opened for the 2017 GJC Fashion Design bursary and the brand-new GJC Fashion Communications and Buying bursary, valued at a total of R345 000. Coetzee’s fashion design bursary is already in its sixth year at the Northwest School of Design, but it is the first time that he is adding a Fashion Communications bursary, to accommodate students who are more interested in the business end of fashion. The latter qualification is also what the R170 000 Luminance Social Responsibility Grant will fund.
“The industry is really dynamic, and there are so many opportunities, which is why I decided to add a bursary for the more business-oriented qualification. It’s so hard to get your foot in the door and the aim of my bursary programme is to pass on what I have learnt and to open doors for youngsters who have the talent and drive to succeed,” says Gert-Johan. He believes that the private sector has a responsibility to invest in the education of the next generation, and says he was “absolutely thrilled” when Judy Dlamini from Luminance, which stocks his couture, approached him to sponsor another Fashion Communication student. “This three-year qualification teaches the business end of fashion – from fashion journalism, marketing and trend forecasting, to buying, event management and online retail aspects,” explains the designer. Both bursaries include mentorship by Gert-Johan, and the opportunity to intern at his atelier to learn the business from the inside out. The beneficiary of the Luminance Social Responsibility Grant will have a similar opportunity to intern at Luminance. Says Judy, “We’re looking for someone who is driven to succeed in fashion and business and willing to learn…. A good academic record is important to us since it shows discipline, determination and hard work.”
Gert-Johan also has a very clear idea what he’ll be looking out for: “Success will only come if you have an inborn fashion instinct and are extremely passionate about it. I am looking for students who are as single minded about fashion as I was at that age, youngsters who are driven, dedicated and not afraid of hard work.”
All three the lucky applicants will receive sewing machines from Bernina, worth a total of R45 000, and all their tuition fees and study materials will be covered for the three years of their course. Both courses offer students the chance to progress to a licentiateship, the highest international fashion qualification in South Africa. Northwest School of Design is an international fashion college approved by City & Guilds of London.
“I am extremely proud of the talented group who make up the GJC bursary team at NWSD, and I expect great things of them,” says Gert-Johan. Last year’s graduate, Prudence Kau, is currently interning full-time at his atelier, on a fourth-year fellowship from another of the designer’s associates, Brutal Fruit. “Prudence is working on her first collection for Brutal Fruit at the moment while she is completing her licentiateship, and it’s a privilege to be able to mentor a young star in the making.”
For more information on how to apply for the Gert-Johan Coetzee bursaries and the Luminance Social Responsibility Grant, visit www.nwsd.co.za.
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