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Young SA designer, Glorinah Khutso Mabaso scoops top prize in Trenery Print Competition

The winner of the Trenery 2020 Print Competition was announced this month, with Pretoria designer Glorinah Khutso Mabaso taking the top prize. Mabaso’s striking fabric design will feature internationally in Trenery’s February 2021 collection, and she will also travel to France to attend a two-week design course at the Paris College of Art. The competition is in line with Trenery’s commitment to supporting aspiring talent in the South African art and design community.

Trenery’s Australian team was so impressed with the breadth of design talent that they selected two runner-up designs – by Primrose Charmz, 29, and Agrippa Hlophe, 31 – to also appear in Trenery’s February range. 

“The entries surpassed our wildest imaginations. There was an interesting variety of submissions to choose from, but the eventual winners were chosen for their standout designs that also fulfilled the brief. Glorinah’s winning print is bold and eye-catching yet stays true to Trenery’s ethos of timeless, modern simplicity,” says Senior Textile Designer Bree Dhaliwal.  

The competition was open exclusively to emerging local designers, who were tasked with creating a unique print with a distinct, modern South African interpretation of a sophisticated summer traveller. More than 400 entries were judged by an expert panel that included Visi Editor Steve Smith, CEO of the Norval Foundation Elana Brundyn, and the Australia-based Trenery design team. 

“It was important to us that the winning designers had a meaningful experience,” explains Elouise Brink, Trenery’s Senior Marketing Manager in South Africa. “As part of their prize, they worked closely with the Australian team to learn the step-by-step process involved in transitioning their designs into screen or digitally printed fabric, and finally into pieces for the Autumn/Winter 2021 collection.” 

Mabaso’s winning print, Rain Maker’, was inspired by the first Rain Queen, Maselekwane Modjadji, of the Balobedu people from Limpopo. “I have always loved history and ancient civilisations. As the only female ruler in the region from 1800-1854, Maselekwane Modjadji was a respected leader in an era when women were not given leadership positions in society,” says Mabaso. “Trenery gave me an incredible platform to represent and visually re-awaken the heritage of these people.” 

Mabaso’s design utilizes a combination of repetitive lines and circles to reflect raindrops running down a glass window. “The ‘Rain Maker’ print got a unanimous vote from all judges, and we are absolutely thrilled to showcase Glorinah’s talent to the world,” says Brink.

Trenery has made it a priority to support young, creative South African talent with its previous Trenery Guild collaborations. “We are well known for our rich artisan prints and our partnerships with skilled hand block craftspeople in India,” explains Brink. ”In Africa, fabric prints are also a type of artistry used to tell a story – bright colours and patterns represent beliefs, traditions, and desires. It was an obvious progression for us to look to our local design community for inspiration, and to use the competition as an opportunity to showcase South African talent on a global platform.” 

Shop the Trenery Print Competition design capsule in store and online from 1 February 2021.  

PROFILE | GLORINAH KHUTSO MABASO  

Introducing Trenery Print Competition Winner, Glorinah Khutso Mabaso  

Born in Phokwane and raised in Mamelodi, South Africa, Glorinah Mabaso’s exploration of mystic African rainmakers in a unique female-led dynasty in Limpopo was rendered in rain splashes on glass. Her winning fabric design is about to go global with fashion brand Trenery in their upcoming AW21 collection. “I’m a city girl with a rural heart, so ancient cultures and the way people used to live is fascinating to me” Mabaso explains. “I have a strong desire to understand what connects the present to the ancient. From this, I believe that we are all created perfectly different to complement each other’s beautiful qualities. We all have something to contribute as a collective or as individuals.” 

An interior design and decorating graduate of the Design School of South Africa, Glorinah has worked for architectural firms and has been recognised for her design excellence in interiors. In 2015, she founded Renaissance; a studio focused on interiors and wallpaper design.   

On winning the competition, Glorinah says: 

“It feels absolutely amazing and surreal! I have always wanted to expand my visual narrative beyond interior design, spilling it into the fashion space. Trenery is a brand which personifies simplicity, sophistication, and timelessness. This opportunity allowed me to introduce a modern tribal visual language which speaks to the global market. I am so humbled.” 

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