We’re a company that loves the creativity that’s embedded in South Africans. And we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to unpack that creative energy in meaningful commercial ways – that was really how we started this whole competition. And in my mind, the Hot Young Designer competition has just transcended any kind of wish that I had for it,’ says Nando’s co-founder, Robbie Brozin.
Indeed, since the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search was launched in 2016, the competition has proven to be an effective vehicle not only for revealing talent, but also for developing and supporting it far beyond the glitz and glamour of the winner announcement event. Pieces such as Thabisa Mjo’s Tutu 2.0 lights, Tulsha Booysen’s CanBeam chandelier, Sam Foaden’s Buhle Bulbs, and Candice Lawrence of Modern Gesture’s woven necklace lampshades featured in Nando’s casas around the world, are shining proof of this.
The 2018 leg of the competition opened up the stage to even more creative talent, asking young South Africans to submit pattern designs. Hundreds sent in their entries, presenting original patterns that shared uniquely local narratives. From there, 10 finalists were chosen and paired with an industry mentor to further their designs.
In the end, Agrippa Mncedisi Hlophe was chosen as the winner. However, due to the strength of each of the finalists’ work, Nando’s has gone on to collaborate with several of them, including creating a licensing deal that allows them to license their pattern designs to interior designers and product designers for a fee, effectively putting them in a position to start building their businesses, as well as building the kind of long-term relationship with Nando’s that has transformed businesses such as Thabisa Mjo’s.