Fashion designers from Botswana were part of the 2018 edition of the African Fashion International (AFI) Fashion Week that was held on October 4-7th at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, South Africa. Social media was lit with images and news about this big event. Each designer showcased a collection made up of ten intricate and exquisite pieces.
The designers were Aobakwe Molosiwa of Gilded Sands, Lesedi Matlapeng of KefSeddy designs, Mothusi Lesolle of IZaura, Sharon Taolo of Everyday Clothing, and Boitumelo Seboko of Rosetta Stone. The above-mentioned designers were sponsored by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture. Besides the four designers, Kutlwano and Gerty Mogojwe of Black Trash, and other local models also flew the Botswana flag high.
One of the highlights with the event was the fact that Batswana came out in large numbers to support and be a part of the Botswana showcase that was held on Saturday afternoon in the Tent, Melrose Arch. According to the Principal Public Relations Officer, Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Kristian Kabelo Mmusi in a press release, this was the second time sending representatives to South Africa.
Last year, the ministry sent designers and models to the then Mercedez-Benz fashion week (now called the AFI Fashion Week) in Cape Town.“The show was a great success and the designs were a great improvement according to the organisers. The Chairperson of AFI Fashion eek, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe was impressed and said Botswana seems to have so much talent in the fashion and modelling industry,” he explains.
He also points out that Chery and Gabatsholwe got to walk the ramp showing off pieces for the local designers, and other designers that includes David Tlale, Carducci and Maxhosa by Laduma. Furthermore, Matlapeng and Taolo got a chance to do a photoshoot of their garments with a top Image Consultant, Tendai Marowa. One of the designers, Lesolle, tells BG Style that one of his highlights, was when he woke up the next day, and saw Elle magazine featuring one of his outfits.
The support of the Batswana that came through to the event also stands out for him as something that he will always cherish. For her part, the Production Manager for the team, Matlapeng says this was the first time that she received such overwhelming standing ovation. Matlapeng points out that for her collection, she took the haute Couture route and wanted to surprise everyone.
“The feedback was amazing. I wanted to show Batswana that I can go all out and do an extra mile,” she explains. She further says that following the event, she has been invited to another showcase that pairs Art and fashion in South Africa this November. For those who were unable to see her work, she will showcase the collection at the upcoming Masa Fashion show event this October.
Molosiwa of Gilded Sands, points out that for his collection, he did something fresh and different from what he is known for. His ready to wear collection comprised of three dresses, tops and bottoms. His colour of choice was black and white. And he collaborated with a local accessory company, XITA accessories.
“I received positive feedback. And I am in talks with a blog that sells clothes,” explains Molosiwa, noting that he has had a chance to network and make connection through the event.