A more organized and brighter future for fashion designers beckons. Following the establishment of the Botswana Fashion Designers Association last year, all plans are in place to assist local designers to be rewarded for their sweat and toil over the years.
Following the signing of a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CapeTown Fashion Council with Botswana Fashion Designers Association through its CEO, Brian Ramikilawan, local fashion designers will now enjoy a more favourable environment for their trade where a lot could be put into perspective and the respective authorities brought on board to understand the industry in order to set the required standards.
According to the association’s president, Gregory Lebekwe, they would like to firstly ensure that artists are recognized locally for their talent by way of roping in policy makers to motivate for a minimum stocking of local designers’ outfits. Lebekwe said countries such as South Africa have such, something that goes a long way in affording designers platforms to showcase their designs in clothing shops because most of the time, they struggle to make enough for rental spaces at malls. He added that this is one of the issues on top of the agenda, in their MoU with CapeTown Fashion Council because they are way ahead of Botswana as such this partnership would be way beneficial for local designers.
The association has also organized a workshop to be facilitated by Botswana Bureau of Standards where designers will be schooled on standards pertaining to their industry in order to move forward from a more informed point of view. In addition to that, they will motivate for the establishment of incubators where upcoming designers or those fresh from school will cut their teeth at such incubators to help them start up. Incubators will be providing space for designers to showcase, where they could take orders and interact with their potential clients as well as where guidance and mentorship could also be provided there.
One of the celebrated artists, Black Trash, has commended the society for these developments citing that in most instances, they are disadvantaged because finding space to sell their items is expensive. Getty Mogojwe of Black Trash says they have made a deliberate decision to showcase outside the country more to test the waters and also gauge their growth in the industry and that so far so good as the reception has been overwhelming. She advises that such risks can only be taken if designers are established which could require a more enabling environment at home.
Black Trash recently returned from Canada where they snatched the Best International Award at the Africa Fashion Week. Mogojwe says this feat has made them realize that they boxed themselves for far too long and shied away from the international market without knowledge that they would make inroads.
“Initially we thought we would just be placed in some category and not fit in but at first sight they just loved us. Even way before our designs could be seen I think just the name Black Trash made the international market more curious but now we deal more with explaining who we are and that we come from Botswana and work there and not based in some city in Europe and not worrying about making an impact”, said Mogojwe.
In October they are headed for The Mercedes Benz fashion show, while in November they will travel far to Dubai for the Africa Fashion Week. Mogojwe says the organisers of the Dubai show saw them in Canada and they just loved their outfits, something that she says will put more pressure on them to change the line they used in Canada.