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Q&A with Gabrielle Foulis

Emerging fashion designer Gabrielle Foulis won the category prize for fashion at the 2018 PPC Imaginarium Awards.

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  • Tell us about yourself. Where are you based and what projects/undertakings are you involved in currently?

I am a fresh and ambitious creative and fashion designer based in Cape Town. I am currently in the film and commercial industries, where I work as a costume assistant and seamstress. I have worked on several commercials, one film and a series. I am a designer at heart, however, and want to pursue my own creative ideas and fashion opportunities.

 PPC Imaginarium

  • At what point did you become interested in entering the fashion category of the PPC Imaginarium Awards?

A dear friend of mine sent me the link to the competition’s website. She urged me to read the fashion category brief and enter. At the time, I was incredibly busy working on a German series, but I was interested in entering as I need capital to start my brand, and the financial gain and the exposure would have benefited me as a young designer.

 

  • Do you have any formal training and/or qualifications? If so, from where?

I studied at the FEDISA fashion institute in Cape Town and graduated with a BA in Fashion Design after three years. In this time, I learnt everything from pattern-making and garment construction to design, as well as how to market and advertise my products. With that said, I did learn to sew and make clothing at a young age.

 

  • Who and/or what inspires you as a creative?

Forward-thinking, boundary-pushing and rule-breaking creatives inspire me. These include the iconic Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, to name several. I am usually inspired by the people and images I see around me, however, as the uniqueness of Cape Town’s individuals and spaces always allow you to think about the different ways to wear and mix styles, textures and prints. My entry piece for the PPC Imaginarium Awards was inspired by the deconstruction of the buildings in Cape Town, as well as how magnificent and monumental in stature they are.

 

  • What is your opinion of the arts and design industries in South Africa? 

In my opinion, the art and design industries in South Africa are undervalued. We have artists and designers who break barriers and are revolutionising the way we dress and express our individuality. They are also pushing for international recognition and realising how influential they are, and that they could become the creatives that shape their industries.

 

  • As a creative, what part of the PPC Imaginarium Awards did you find the most rewarding/fulfilling?

The most rewarding part of the PPC Imaginarium Awards for me was the jewellery category. I was incredibly impressed with the winner, Aleks Ashton, and the level of detail that so many of the finalists put into their pieces (for instance, another piece that used pigmented cement). These artists are taking cement into a completely different industry. They could change the classic ideas of what jewellery should look like; lightweight cement changes the game.

 

  • What role can platforms like the PPC Imaginarium Awards play among emerging creatives in your industry?

 The PPC Imaginarium Awards could play a big role in my industry as it allows people to stretch their imagination and try to revolutionise cement, creating a new textile or fibre and cement form. Special types of fibre are already being used in concrete slabs for strengthening.

 

  • What are your plans for the future?

In the immediate future, my plan is to launch my fashion brand, “Every. Kind”, which aims to promote body positivity and individuality (the name evokes an all-encompassing celebration of everyone). I aim to pursue different avenues of my industry too, as I wish to collaborate with different local artists and designers, and for us to be supportive of one another and the local market.

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