After seeing the work of the 2017 third year students at the Miss South Africa pageant, Zanele Leon, the newly crowned Miss UJ Varsity Cup approached Zanné to find an appropriate dress to wear.
“I sourced dresses that UJ fashion students had produced in the past two years and Zanele fell in love with the yellow Vuvuzela dress that I had designed and made for the Nedbank Cup competition in 2015”, said Zanné.
The dress was originally designed as an entry into the Nedbank Cup Football Fan Fashion Competition. The brief for this competition was to design and make something that showed one’s talent and love for South Africa.
Zanné explained that she decided to design a dress that represented the football fan and since a fan never goes to a game without a vuvuzela, this was the perfect inspiration for a dress. “The shape of the vuvuzela is showcased in the silhouette of the dress and the bright yellow colour highlights the celebratory nature of the vuvuzela. “I hand-beaded a belt and traditional Zulu hat to be worn as accessories with the dress and complete the contemporary African inspired look, Zanné added”.
As Miss UJ Varsity Cup, Zanele Leon, wore the yellow vuvuzela dress to the competition where she was crowned second princess.
Zanné has always loved fashion, but her path to fashion as a career has been a long and winding one. She first completed her B-Com Law and LLB degrees at UJ before she actively pursued her fashion studies. She explains that “In the final year of LLB studies my book bag broke and since I was a poor student I didn’t have money to buy a new one, so I bought one metre of curtain fabric and made myself a book bag. A fellow student admired the bag and I made one for her. I quickly began sewing bags and outfits for anyone who was willing to pay me and this soon developed into a little business. This was the impetus to take my fashion ambitions seriously and I enrolled for my diploma at UJ.”
The 30-year-old has a unique view on fashion and believes that it is an art that you can actually climb into and become part of the art piece. “You can admire it with your eyes, feel it on your skin, you can make it move and move with it and it even has practical functions such as keeping you warm or preserving your modesty in public. In addition to this, I love fashion because it is an expression of self and a tool we can use to tell the world who we are. Being in control of the way the world perceives you is very powerful,” Zanné emphasised.
Zanné’s fashion philosophy is that being fashionable does not depend on how expensive your clothes are or where you shop. Instead she concludes that, “being fashionable is dependent on three things; the clothing fits well, it represents who you are as a person and that it makes you feel confident because confidence is always in style”.
Zanné’s achievements include:
- Top B.Tech Fashion Design Student in 2015
- She was nominated for the 2015 Dean’s Award for her B.Tech range – as part of the nomination, her Country Bass range, was displayed as part of the Dean’s Award Exhibition at the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture (FADA) gallery
- She was selected to represent UJ at the Cumulus Conference 2015 in Shanghai;
- She was one of the 16 contestants selected from across South Africa to participate in the Nedbank Cup Football Fan Fashion Competition 2015.
- In 2016 Zanné worked with a new American band, 7th Avenue in Los Angeles, where she styled two photo shoots and three of their new music videos.