Nadia Lemmer, a final year fashion design student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, is taking part in the L’Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto, Canada, thanks to the efforts of Woolworths and its Managing Director Retail, Andrew Jennings. Jennings, who spent a number of years with Canada’s leading retailers, serves on the Ryerson Fashion Council in Canada, and was asked by the chairperson to put forward a South African student to participate in the event. Himself a keen supporter of design and eager to put young South African talent on the world stage, Jennings took advantage of the relationship Woolworths has had for some time with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Fashion Design department and asked them to recommend a deserving student. CPUT – and the Cape Town Fashion Council – had no hesitation in recommending Nadia Lemmer, as her previous successes made her an ideal choice. She won the Most Promising Designer award from Hip Hop Designers in 2007, and has also been a finalist in a number of other prestigious local competitions including the 2007 Government Global Warming competition, 2008 Design for Life competition and 2008 No Kak Environmentally Friendly Fashion competition. Nadia – and a number of stunning outfits from her ‘Grandma’s Secrets’ collection – travelled to Toronto for the fashion event which took place from 20-25 October. She was one only of five graduating fashion students from around the world to have the opportunity to showcase her designs as part of the LG Fashion Fusion. This was her first opportunity for international exposure. Nadia, who is studying towards a BTech in plus-size clothing, explained that her unusual collection was inspired by ‘Grandma’s Secrets’ – her special collection of teaspoons, the ribbon on her bloomers, the lace on her wedding dress, or her secret recipe for cupcakes. She is particularly interested in trying to ensure that fuller figured women have more choice when it comes to clothing. “I think that anything and anyone can be beautiful. Construction of designs can be intricate or simple. I see the garment merely as an object that contributes to the wearer’s identity,” she said. While in Toronto Nadia was looked after by celebrated fashion designer Joe Mimran, who is the designer behind Woolworths’ newest exclusive fashion brand, Twist. “We are immensely pleased to have been able to assist this talented young designer this way”, said Woolworths Managing Director of Retail, Andrew Jennings. “Design and design education have long been major focuses for us at Woolworths,” said Jennings. “Innovation is not simply one of our company values; it has been a driving force for Woolworths for more than three-quarters of a century. Design is not only crucial to us in terms of our own business; we also recognise its economic value and the vital role it can play in the future of this country. We believe that as a South African retailer, we have a responsibility to support design education and the local design industry, which we do through our Making the Difference Through Design educational programme and our sponsorship of the annual Design Indaba.” He added, “An invitation to participate in an international event such as this is an invaluable opportunity and I am sure the exposure will be of enormous benefit to her in her future career. We wish Nadia all the best.” Ends