The 12 aspiring fashion designers had hardly set foot in the building (sizing each other up and sipping on some 4th Street to ease the tension), when in waltzed host Lerato Kganyago and mentor Gert-Johan Coetzee to put them straight to work. And so the contest kicked off!
The theme? Freedom.
The challenge? Create an expressive outfit inspired by national heritage site Constitution Hill, using only black and white fabric. Challenge accepted.
In a frenzied swirl of fabric, cutting, pinning, sewing, steaming, ironing and frayed nerves, the first runway day dawned too quickly for some – and not soon enough for others. Nerves shot through the roof anticipating what the decision-makers would have to say.
Enter resident judges Noni Gasa and Rahim Rawjee, as well as guest judge Kelly Fung, Elle SA editor-in-chief, with some spicy statements, despite Gert asking them to “be nice to my children”.
And so deliberation began: who would be in and who would be out?
Ultimately, Thokozani Mbatha buckled under the pressure with an outfit that Noni described as too theatrical, topped only by Rahim’s comment: “It looked like Big Bird was sheared and then turned into a poodle.”
And so, Thokozani was the first contestant to get the axe. He does, however, walk away as the unofficial winner of Quote of the Episode…
And the winner? Kentse Masilo, who dazzled everyone with a well-conceptualised design that told a clear story. “I know exactly who you are as a designer from this first look,” said Kelly.
Here’s what a few of our favourites had to say:
— MELODY MOLALE (@MelodyMolale) July 10, 2018
I’m so excited for @ProjectRunwaySA. I’m a huge fan of the format. Have watched every episode (including All Stars). I can’t flipping wait. And I love that @leratokganyago is at the helm. YES! #ProjectRunwaySA pic.twitter.com/an4WHk60Ly
— IG & SC: @roxyburger (@roxyburger) July 10, 2018
— Boity Thulo (@Boity) July 10, 2018
@ProjectRunwaySA this show is refreshing and truly exposing South African talent in many ways. Big up guys ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽
— Nthabeleng Phora (@nthabelengphora) July 10, 2018
This was an awesome and fantastic first episode of #ProjectRunwaySA , i am glued and i am realy am in love with the season already and i cannot wait for many more seasons @ProjectRunwaySA @leratokganyago @gertjohan
— SIMPHIWE KHUMALO 🌈 (@Simza_Boi) July 10, 2018
Definition of C.R.E.A.T.I.V.I.T.Y !!! 🙌🏽🙌🏽 @ProjectRunwaySA That’s some mad mad talent.
— Dineo Mathebula (@MsDeeMathebula) July 10, 2018
— African Daughter (@DaughtersAfrica) July 10, 2018
Next week, negotiation skills are put to the test, new friendships are formed and the designers fight to stay on top as they wrestle with the theme Electric Jungle. It’s the first time they’ll be choosing and buying their own fabric, but the budget is tight – and the deadline, even tighter.
And then there were 11. Who will be out next? Find out on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161, at 9.30pm every Tuesday.
Project Runway is brought to you by Mzansi Magic and Ndalo Pictures, in association with 4th Street. The production partner is Rapid Blue and sponsors include Edgars, Kelso Beauty, Tresemmé, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre and Lexus.