Pretoria-based Glorinah Khutso Mabaso took top prize with her winning “Rain Maker” print collection in the Trenery Print Competition.

She shares with Style Africa her emotions, design inspiration, and why retailers should focus on emerging local talents

The Trenery Print Competition kicked off in 2020 inviting emerging designers to design a unique and inspired print to be featured in their collections, along with a two week course in ‘Print Patterns & Trends’ at the renowned Paris College of Arts valued at R80,000.

Style Africa:       First of all CONGRATULATIONS GLORINAH on your win. We are so very proud of you. With strong Western and European influences in fashion, how does it feel to have your print selected for Trenery global?

Glorinah             Thank you so much, appreciate it! It feels surreal, amazing and humbling, and I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a new chapter. Having my print selected by Trenery is a massive honour and it validates that my sharing of African history through pattern design is effective and has a place in the international market.

Style Africa:       What were your initial expectations of the task required of you, and what was your realisation with the outcome of the result?

Glorinah:            Initially I thought Trenery would gravitate towards leafy or floral prints as the brief was for a summer traveler; so I studied the brand, its aesthetic and colour palettes, then took a risk and decided to be authentic, completely straying from the obvious. An ancient African Queendom was my answer and so I dedicated the print to the first Rain Queen Maselekwane Modjadji. To my surprise the risk was worth it! My interpretation of the rain aligned perfectly with Trenery’s design philosophy of timeless, modern simplicity and it was that balance of old and new that is really at the heart of the brand.

Style Africa:       Can you explain the thought process and inspiration of creating the design?

Glorinah:            The Modjadji Monarchs are known to be bestowed with a sacred gift which enables the Queen to actually make rain, no really, real rain! Because I’ve always been inspired by strong women in leadership positions, it made perfect sense to celebrate the 1st Rain Queen who ruled in the 1800s during a time when women and leadership were never used in one sentence. Rain was the main inspiration, therefore the print also highlights that the importance  of women in society is just as powerful as the rain in the cycle of life.

Style Africa:     Take us through the interpretation and story of the design.

Glorinah:            Since the print needed to represent the Monarchy’s wealth being the rain, I tried to design a print that wouldn’t be too literal. I then watched and listened  to the rain ritual dance on YouTube paying attention to the traditional attires, tribal sounds and dance. Then I began to visualise the effect of raindrops falling onto a glass surface, creating streaks which I translated into various linear lines playing with thicknesses and height. I then included circles to represent the rain droplets and to strike a balance in the composition. This resulted in a strong bold striped like pattern inspired by a referenced Trenery outfit. Of course the collection’s colour palette was adjusted to complement Trenery’s seasonal beautiful cool blue hues.

Style Africa:       With retailers barely surviving, what do you think Trenery is doing right by focusing on local and emerging talents?

Glorinah:            I think Trenery is on the right track. The most effective way to enhance a brand’s aesthetic and to strengthen brand loyalty,  is to create unique pieces that customers can relate to and learn from. In this instance the platform afforded emerging designers an opportunity to tell their stories through prints giving them creative freedom on an international level. If more platforms like this are created, and stable relationships between retailers and local talent are established,  then it could in the long run contribute towards elevating the local creative economy.



Born in Phokwane and raised in Mamelodi, South Africa, Glorinah Mabaso’s exploration of mystic African rainmakers in a unique female-led dynasty in Limpopo was rendered in rain splashes on glass. Her winning fabric design is about to go global with fashion brand Trenery in their upcoming AW21 collection. “I’m a city girl with a rural heart, so ancient cultures and the way people used to live is fascinating to me” Mabaso explains. “I have a strong desire to understand what connects the present to the ancient. From this, I believe that we are all created perfectly different to complement each other’s beautiful qualities. We all have something to contribute as a collective or as individuals.” An interior design and decorating graduate of the Design School of South Africa, Glorinah has worked for architectural firms and has been recognised for her design excellence in interiors. In 2015, she founded Renaissance; a studio focused on interiors and wallpaper design.

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