Local designers made their mark last week at the #REDExperiment 2.0 awards ceremony, hosted by the  Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. The annual design competition opened for entries early February and offered creatives the opportunity to design the hotels new staff uniform, which included a T-shirt, a cap and a long-sleeve jacket. The winning designer in each of the three categories received a cash prize of R10,000 and their design will go into production.

Sinenhlanhla Lombo (Durban) won best cap design, Joshua MacKenzie (Durban) won best T-shirt design, and Chad Jakes Linden (Cape Town) won best jacket design.  Leonie Andereya, Curator at RED said that the main thing they were looking for in this competition was for the designs to tell a story and connect RED to South Africa, its people, culture and vibrancy.  “Our previous uniforms were inherited from our head office in Europe and had no real connection to our location in South Africa. As passionate patrons of the arts, we also want to be proud supporters of SA designers and provide a global platform for them to be recognised.”

Chad Jakes Linden’s jacket design was inspired by his daily commute to work in Capricorn Park. “I took creative inspiration from the people I see every day on the train. And what I wanted to particularly focus on was the women I see and create a sense of strong female empowerment in my design.”

The cap design created by textile and fashion designer Sinenhlanhla Lombo took an interesting spin on the hotel’s euro-centric roots, while bringing in a bold South African flavour. “I was inspired by the Edwardian era, more specifically the painting of Mona Lisa. I wanted to include her iconic smile in my textile print and compliment this with a wild textured look synonymous with Africa’s natural beauty.  On the road to building her empire, 29-year old Lombo owns her own online clothing store called Peaches and Cream and recently exhibited her designs at a popular décor & design show.

Catching the judge’s eye with his bold and daring design, Joshua MacKenzie raised attention with his ‘Being Normal is Boring’ T-shirt design.  “It’s no secret that we’re crazy for eccentric and unconventional style, and we just loved how Mackenzie’s design boldly played with the essence of our brand, yet still remained true to himself and his design aesthetic,” said Andereya. Mackenzie (24yrs) recently completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Vega School, and said he will be using his winning cash to buy a new laptop so that he can keep producing better work.

It was a challenging judging process that required a lot of consideration. “It was tough to narrow the entries down to finalists, and then ultimately winners. South Africans are so talented. Each design demonstrated amazing creativity and diversity, and we want to thank all of those who took the time to participate. We were truly blown away by everyone’s unique style,” said Andereya.

The new RED hotel uniform will go into production this month.

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