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 Having recently returned from Los Angeles, where she was contracted to style two photo shoots and three music videos for US band 7th Ave, South African Zanné de Meillon (29), typifies the industry links of lecturers at the Design School of Southern Africa (DSSA).

“My trip to LA was fantastic! Working with the band members Chris and Tristin Rupp, Adam Bastien and Pitch Perfect actress, Kelley Jakle, was amazing. Helping them to tell their story through their styling was a wonderful opportunity. Being able to work with people who are so dedicated and passionate about what they do, is highly motivating and inspiring,” says de Meillon.

When she isn’t a wardrobe stylist for international artists, designing bespoke clothing or presenting personal styling workshops, de Meillon is a lecturer at DSSA, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). In her lectures, she aims to not only inspire her students but also ensures that her lectures are attuned to the needs of the fashion industry and to prepare learners for a career in this most international of industries. These are experiences that fashion students want to learn about, especially if South African fashion is to take its rightful place globally.Her own story is an inspiration to many. She initially studied and passed a law degree (LLB BCom) but a future drafting shareholders’ agreements and corporate leases for an investment bank didn’t inspire her as much asher passion for fashion did.

As a child, she would sketch outfits and her mom would make them. As a student, out of necessity she began making her own bags and outfits, as well as for her fellow students, rekindling that passion.

“This soon evolved into a thriving small business and it was at this point I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in fashion and so I went back to university,” continues de Meillon.

Today, in addition to her law degree she holds a NDip Fashion Design and a BTech in Fashion Design from the University of Johannesburg. While there, she was awarded the Top BTech Fashion Design Student and her BTech fashion range was nominated for the 2015 Dean’s Award.

Her clothing range, Country Bass, was displayed as part of the Dean’s Award Exhibition at the FADA Gallery and she was selected to represent the university at the Cumulus Conference 2015 in Shanghai. She was also one of 16 contestants selected from across South Africa to participate in the Nedbank Football Fan Fashion Competition 2015.

“I enjoy working for DSSA because it’s a creative environment where students are encouraged to learn and develop their creativity. I love being part of their fashion odyssey,” says de Meillon. 

She sees many new avenues for the students to profile their work, and is part of the process of creating opportunities. De Meillon is currently writing a programme for a new workshop entitled ‘Communicating through clothing’, for school and university students as well as corporate companies to empower them to use clothing to best represent who they are as individuals.

“It is an exciting time for young designers in the country with trends such as “eco” or “green” clothing, which ismade from sustainable materials, through environmentally-friendly processes. Take this hot new trend and couple it with fresh thinking designers equipped with the knowledge to communicate through clothing, and the future of South African fashion looks bright,” concludes de Meillon.

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