Cotton made in Africa Fashion Contest


To mark the occasion of the Cotton made in Africa Fashion Contest, design student Michelle Thornhill created a t-shirt that combines traditional African prints with modern design. The shirt is available at the OTTO online shop since April 23. Under the “Design instead of Jute” motto, the South African convinced the well-known Cotton made in Africa Fashion Contest 2012 jury with her design for a dress made of raw cotton. She took first place over 21 other international contestants. Her prize was the opportunity to create a t-shirt exclusively for OTTO.

The design is very primal; it was important to me to use warm colours and African prints,” Michelle Thornhill explains. In addition to designing the t-shirt for the OTTO “Chillytime” brand, the CPUT design student also had the chance to produce her raw cotton dress for the Cotton made in Africa Initiative. OTTO furthermore sponsored the second place winner, Kristen Nuttall from the ESMOD in Berlin, a Privileg brand sewing machine she can use to realise her design ideas. 

The Aid by Trade Foundation held the Cotton made in Africa Fashion Contest 2012 to show that sustainability and fashion need not be mutually exclusive. Together with the respected ESMOD Berlin (Germany), LISOF (South Africa), Johari (Kenya), Buru Buru Institute (Kenya) and CPUT (South Africa) fashion design schools, the foundation invited applicants to submit a work of art made of CmiA raw cotton that combined fashion and sustainability and creatively and fashionably staged cotton as a symbol of CmiA. An eight-person jury consisting of renowned representatives from journalism, fashion design and the textile branch, such as Jan Gritz (Fashion Editor at BRIGITTE), designer Julia Starp, and Jacqueline Shaw (blogger and founder of the africanfashionguide), declared Michelle Thornhill the winner. 

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