GEORGE NEWS - Luke Atkins (18) has wanted to design and create beautiful clothes for as long as he can remember. Atkins, a matric learner at York High School, held an exhibition on Thursday night at 101 Meade to exhibit the dress he designed and made according to the brief for this year's Young Designers Extravaganza.
Though the competition was cancelled due to Covid-19 lockdown, Luke decided to use it as a way to showcase his talents for the last time. He had won the competition twice and came second twice.
The dress had to be made completely from recycled material. It took about six months - he used chicken wire to create the shape he wanted, black bags to cover it and paper to create the striped look. The beads were made of glass and plastic which he beaded and stitched himself.
He also lined the inside with fabric to make it more comfortable to wear. "These materials are 95% recyclable and I kept to the African theme," he says.
As it turned out, the dress played a bigger role in his future than he could have dreamt. He had included it in his application to study at the Design Academy of Fashion (DAF) in Cape Town - and he was accepted. It just made sense to make the announcement at the exhibition.
"The academy is the only internationally recognised institution in Africa for design education," says mom Phillippa Atkins, who supports her son and would do anything to help him.
It is costly though. The first year alone will be about R100 000 and they have created a Cornerstone Trust Fund to raise funds.
"I wanted to make clothes and design my own creations since my mom taught me to sew my teddy," says Luke. His dream is to work at one of the international fashion houses where he hopes to make a name for himself.
He intends to help raise some of the money. "I will look for a job to help save money, and with the hours of a waiter, it will also allow me to still attend class."
Annallida Kruger of Jean Nalida Collections, who has acted as panel judge in the competition, also attended the function. She advises young designers to study and first find out who they are before aspiring to be like a Louis Vuitton or Versace.
"Studying will teach them to know the anatomy of the body, how to cut, sow, lay out and make up patterns. This is important to know if you want to be a good designer."
If you want to help Luke realise his dream, please contact Phillippa on 084 059 0242.
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