Meet the stellar line up of judges for the 5th edition of the Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards

For the fifth annual edition of the Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards, a renowned panel of six local and international judges will bring a strong global perspective to the evaluation process. This will be the second year that this same panel will be judging the awards.

“We are confident that this dynamic panel, with wide-ranging and multidisciplinary expertise, will offer a refined outlook that matches the calibre of talented makers, designers, creators, thought-leaders, and innovators who have entered the 2023 awards,” says Twyg founder Jackie May.

The jury members for 2023 are Omoyemi Akerele, Mimma Viglezio, Esethu Cenga, Dr Sipho Mbatha, Sharon Armstrong and Nisha Kanabar.

Omoyemi Akerele

A former magazine editor with multiple degrees in law, Omoyemi Akerele established the fashion business development agency, Style House Files, to create opportunities for African designers by spearheading initiatives that promote the advancement of designers and the evolving ecosystem. Since the company’s inception, Omoyemi has advocated for African creatives and nurtures, develops and promotes the African fashion industry. She established the biannual Lagos Fashion Week, a multi-day platform that presents African designers in Nigeria and beyond. Through the Lagos Fashion Week platform, Omoyemi launched Woven Threads for the protection of craftsmanship in communities and Green Access to re-emphasise the need for fashion to be designed with resource efficiency, biodegradability, longevity, and recyclability in mind.

Omoyemi collaborates with designers on various projects to promote their work and earn their brands’ creative and commercial success. This devotion to seeing designers from the continent thrive has earned her multiple awards on the continent and the rest of the world, including a placement on Business of Fashion’s Global 500 list.

Mimma Viglezio

Mimma Viglezio is a Swiss creative consultant, writer, editor, and broadcaster. In 1992 she was hired by Hill & Knowlton and became head of the high-profile goods division. She has advised clients such as Bulgari and Celine. After four years at Hill & Knowlton working primarily for Bulgari, the jewellers offered her the position of external relations director for womenswear. Five years later she was named corporate communications executive director, with responsibility for overseeing external relations, advertising, media, financial press, and events. After nine years with Bulgari, Mimma moved to Paris to take over the role of communications director at Louis Vuitton. After only one year, she was offered a job by PPR (now Kering) in its luxury division, the Gucci Group. She was editor in chief of LULA Magazine, then editor in chief of SHOWstudio, and, until recently, editor in chief of Tomorrow London Digital. In January 2010 she decided to pursue an independent career. Today she mainly advises young designers and start-ups on product, business, strategy, and investment opportunities.

Esethu Cenga

Esethu Cenga is the co-founder and CEO at Rewoven and the Co-Founder and director at Future of Fashion. She is originally from the Eastern Cape where she grew up, later moving to Cape Town to study at the University of Cape Town. Here, Esethu was part of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and was curious about value creation and creative problem solving, particularly given the many socio-economic problems South Africa, and Africa at large face.
Through her studies in politics, philosophy, and economics, and development economics, Esethu began to gain a holistic understanding of the challenges that Africa is facing in the context of globalisation. Since completing her university studies, Esethu has been driven to create a meaningful impact through the start-up Rewoven that she co-founded alongside Tshepo Bhengu and Lonwabo Mgoduso in 2017. Rewoven is an early stage textile recycling start-up based in Cape Town, South Africa. Rewoven diverts textile waste from landfill by collecting it from source and facilitating its reuse and recycling for the production of various products in the furniture, automotive, construction and fashion industry. Rewoven’s current focus is now to produce consumer goods from the textile waste it receives such as apparel, accessories, and homeware products. Currently, Rewoven has diverted over 1 million kilograms of textile waste from landfill in Cape Town. The start-up currently employs 10 people.

Dr Sipho Mbatha

Dr Sipho Mbatha is a senior lecturer, NRF Thuthuka scholar, and head of the department for design studies at the Faculty of Arts and Design, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), South Africa. Dr Mbatha has facilitated teaching and learning at various South African universities for 13 years. He completed his M-Tech (Cum Laude) titled; Development of competitive advantage for the apparel manufacturing industry of South Africa with TUT. He presented his M-Tech research findings at four international conferences, one hosted in Spain. He has published two book chapters and two journal articles from this degree.
Dr Mbatha obtained his D-Tech in Fashion Design and Technology titled: Exploring University-Industry-Government research linkages in the clothing manufacturing industry of South Africa from TUT. The findings of his research have been presented at international conferences hosted in Finland, Brazil, Ethiopia and South Africa and two articles published in journals.
Dr Mbatha was a keynote speaker at the 2018 2nd annual Consumer Studies Teachers’ Conference and presented a paper titled: The State of Competitive Advantage in the Clothing, Textiles, Leather and Footwear (CTLF) Industry of South Africa. Dr Mbatha was a panellist at the 2015 NEPAD Regional Conference on Arts Education in Africa titled; Proposed Policy Framework to Strengthen Art Education in the SADC Region: Porter’s Diamond Model Perspective. Dr Mbatha participated at 2022 STADIO’s SPRING SESSIONS streaming discussions on local fashion production: implementation of the masterplan 2030. Dr Mbatha was also a panellist at the 2022 2nd Textiles and Fashion World Conference, Tianjin China organised by the China Textile and Apparel Education Society (CTAES) on a paper titled; Improving higher education and promoting research in the clothing, textiles, leather, and footwear industry of South Africa.

Dr Mbatha has been contributing to the clothing industry and communities through motivational talks with university leaders, Radio shows, Guest Judge on a TV Hair competition show, and Pick n Pay’s Future of Wear 2021/22 Facilitator. Dr Mbatha is working with a clothing and textiles hub based in the North West mining belt to develop the clothing industry through a regional system of innovation strategy to achieve sustainable economic and socioeconomic development.

Dr Mbatha contributes to the academic community as a moderator and postgraduate examiner of both public and private fashion-related institutions. He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Science, Technology, Public Policy and a reviewer for the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development. He supervises Masters and Doctoral students on topics associated with his research focus area (sustainability, competitive advantage, National Systems of Innovation and 4IR).

Sharon Armstrong

For over two decades, Sharon Armstrong’s astute styling has graced the pages of a range of publications such as Elle, Glamour, and Marie Claire. She has collaborated with numerous luxury brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. She is currently the Fashion Director for Wanted, Sunday Times Lifestyle, and Sowetan S Mag. Sharon edits the fashion magazine, The Edit.

Nisha Kanabar

Nisha Kanabar is a curator, storyteller, and the founder of Industrie Africa. From Tanzania, Kanabar graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York and went on to forge a career in luxury fashion and publishing. With over a decade of experience, she has held formative positions in the editorial and commercial departments of American Vogue, Vogue India, and Style.com in the Middle East (now Vogue Arabia). Her experience across international markets fuelled a desire to channel her work into her home continent’s contemporary and luxury designer market, with a special focus on diversity, digitisation, and storytelling.

Once the 2023 panel has completed the adjudication process, the finalists will be announced on 14 November 2023. The overall category winners will be announced at an award ceremony on 23 November 2023 in Cape Town. For more information visit https://twyg.co.za/.

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