Aspirant designers encouraged to apply for Gert-Johan Coetzee bursary programme

Previous bursary winners Prudence Kau, Christopher Gill and John-Wayne Keyser with designer Gert-Johan Coetzee. Picture: Supplied.

Previous bursary winners Prudence Kau, Christopher Gill and John-Wayne Keyser with designer Gert-Johan Coetzee. Picture: Supplied.

Published Dec 7, 2023


Are you an aspiring designer who has a passion for fashion?

Then you could walk away with a fashion bursary from legendary South African and internationally renowned fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee.

The 2023 Fashion Design Bursary, valued at R204 900, includes tuition fees to attend the internationally accredited North West School of Design (NWSD) for three years.

The winner of Coetzee’s fashion competition will also receive a cutting-edge Bernina sewing machine, and get an opportunity to visit the designer’s GJC Johannesburg studio to learn the tricks of the trade from him.

The renowned designer to the stars’ Fashion Design Bursary is an annual initiative set out to shape the future of South African fashion, since its inception in 2009.

Coetzee said the bursary programme was his way of “passing the torch to the next generation.”

“I want the students, the diamonds in the rough, to have the same education that I had and then I want to give them the opportunity to come to my studio in Bryanston, and come and learn the actual practice of fashion design,” he said.

“I think it’s one thing to give people an education, but to give them that work experience and mentorship is priceless”.

Previous bursary winner Andrea Beyers with Gert-Johan Coetzee. Picture: Supplied.

Previous Fashion Design Bursary recipients have not only received a comprehensive education, but they have also gone onto launch successful fashion careers.

Many of them are employed by renowned designers and fashion organisations.

“Others are established fashion professionals with their own clients, working as stylists and bloggers, and making a positive impact on the ever-evolving South African fashion scene,” Coetzee said.

Among them is Prudence Kau, one of the many illustrious recipients of Coetzee’s fashion bursary.

"The best part about the bursary was obviously studying at one of the best fashion schools in SA and getting the opportunity to intern and work at the GJC studio,” Kau explained.

“This gave me the necessary skills needed to be a fashion designer."

Kau is a Fashion Design Bursary success story, who runs her own bridal fashion label, “Rachel James Bridal”.

The designer has also ventured into a ladies' tailoring business with a fellow NWSD graduate as her business partner.

The brand “Gaia”, is set to open its studio in Randburg, Johannesburg, in January next year.

Meanwhile, the Fashion Design Bursary winner is set to commence studies on January 31, 2024, at the prestigious NWSD, which recently celebrated 25 years of excellence in training South Africa's top designers and fashion professionals.

The closing date for entries is December 22. The finalists are set to be notified on New Years Eve, with the winner being announced on January 5, 2024.

To enter, visit and complete the online application, and press submit. Applicants should also upload a one-minute video on TikTok and Instagram showcasing their favourite style or share one of their latest design sketches.

The social media video should also include an introduction about the applicant.

Remember to use these hashtags in your video: #nwsd, #gert, #gertbursary2023, #fashiondesign, #fashionbursary, #fashionschool. Applicants should also tag @nwsdfashion and @gertjohancoetzee.

Terms and conditions:

– Applicants must be South African citizens.

– Currently in Grade 12 or older.

– Grade 12 certificate with diploma exemption for those who have successfully passed.

– Previous applicants are welcome to re-enter.

– The winner must be able to their start studies in Klerksdorp from January 31, 2024.

– Proficiency in English is required.

– Two annual internships at Gert-Johan Coetzee studios are mandatory.

– Exclusions: Personal stationery, laptop, accommodation and meals.