Judges, but why?

2 weeks ago, we kicked off our Fashion Accelerator Program with an engaging Media Launch at the Standard Bank Incubator in Johannesburg.

Personalities from the fashion and business industry, press, bloggers, our 12 finalist entrepreneurs and of course our panel of 5 formidable judges, were present.

Many have asked us why and specifically how did we choose our panel of judges. Well the answer is simple, we were looking for specific expertise from different industries and with different backgrounds. Above all, we wanted judges that understood business and were great at what they do.

And that resulted in a diverse panel, that honestly speaking, outside of this context, it would have been hard to find such an eclectic combination. Our judges come from fashion, business gurus and entrepreneurs to branding and eCommerce experts. They will share their knowledge and experience with our 12 fashion entrepreneurs to help them take their businesses to the next level.

As the saying goes, ladies first!

Basetsana Kumalo - Entrepreneur & Nation Builder

She is one of South Africa’s most renowned brands, businesswoman and TV personalities. Former Miss South Africa Basetsana is bringing to the table over 2 decades worth of expertise as a mining, fashion, travel and media entrepreneur to the process - a formidable force in the business world to which we can all look up to.

With a variety of business interests, Bassie has pioneered female entrepreneurship in South Africa.

In Basetsana Kumalo eyes "Small businesses are the lifeblood of our developing economy, and incubation programs such as this will add to the nurturing of these organizations. If we want to create jobs in the arts, we need to get serious about recognizing their potential."

Timothy Maurice Webster - Branding Guru

Widely respected as one of the country’s most proficient marketing and branding guru’s, Timothy Maurice Webster will also share his knowledge with our Threads participants.

He is the author of four brand leadership books and columnist who consults & speaks on the science of Human & Brand Behaviour- with an emphasis on three key leadership pillars; Values formation, Behavioural/Style Psychology and Brand Influence.

Why did he join us?

“I accepted the invitation to be a judge for the pioneering Threads fashion development work because being part of a developing such a powerful and influential industry is really humbling. South Africa’s fashion industry is on a trajectory for being one of the world’s leading players and to play a small part is the least I could do.”

Jackie Burger - Style Icon

Jackie Burger is undoubtedly fashion’s godmother in South Africa! With over 25 years in the fashion industry, she has worked in retail marketing, publishing and television.

Former editor of ELLE South Africa she is now busy with her newest business venture Salon 58; SA’s very first salon - a place where creatives and visionaries can come together to dream, collaborate and create. We couldn’t imagine a fashion development program without her in the picture.


A word from Jackie: “Witnessing a fashion design program with articulated and well-considered tangibles in place to create an immersive and purpose-driven platform for the future of South African design is an absolute privilege.” she continues... “Under the guidance and insight of key industry players and stakeholders, we all get to secure the much-needed footprint both local and international of our home-grown talent. It is an honor indeed to share this process.”

Laduma Ngxokolo - Fashion Designer

One of our most proudly South African exports is of course, fashion entrepreneur and designer Laduma Ngxokolo from MaXhosa. He will teach our entrepreneurs about the route to success in the fashion business in SA and abroad and guide them to their successful NEXT!

Laduma entered the world of fashion with his brand MaXhosa in 2011. The brand was created from a desire to explore knitwear design solutions that are suitable for the amakrwala (Xhosa initiates) traditional dress. As someone who has undergone the ritual, he wanted to develop a premium knitwear range to celebrates traditional Xhosa beadwork aesthetics, using South African mohair and wool - South African heritage!

Laduma innovated the knitwear design industry and won the hearts of fashion lovers all over the world. We are sooo happy to have him on board!

Why did he join us?

“As a Threads judge, I’m doing my part in liberating the youth with knowledge and experience, to create a better design infrastructure for us all.”

Vincent Hoogduijn - International eCommerce Expert

Thanks to Vincent our entrepreneurs will be receiving key industry expertise from an online retail perspective.

Vincent is running the online fashion retailer Spree as CEO and has over 15 years of international management and e-commerce experience.

Vincent’s knowledge in topics like designing a distribution strategy and doing business online are vital for our fashion entrepreneurs on their journey to success.

Hoogduijin says “Spree has been committed to growing and supporting local fashion since 2013 by showcasing close to 100 local designers and brands, both long-standing establishments as well as up and coming local businesses. This, combined with my personal passion for entrepreneurship and the thinking without limitations that comes with it, makes me look very much forward to being a part of the program.”


To wrap up, we choose the industry’s finest: retail, branding and fashion industry experts to guide, mentor and strengthen the business knowledge of our 12 fashion entreprene

Threads Team

We believe in change. We believe in leaving a lasting impact. That's why threads mission is to empower the next of South African fashion entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools, resources, and networks to run a sustainable business operation and thrive internationally.