Local fashion and art designers will be accorded another chance to showcase their work on an international platform as the Africa Fashion and Arts Festival returns for the third time.
Since its introduction in 2016, the festival has been one of Malawi’s most followed fashion events and has attracted some of the top local designers such as Lily Alfonso, Nzika Wear, Miss Pearls, Nyalisa Wear as well as other designers from Lesotho and South Africa.
According to one of the local organisers Victoria Mopiwa, the event will continue to uphold values that promote the African heritage and fashion business beyond the country’s borders.
She said: “We have stuck with our approach which underlines an execution of a touch of elegance and style. Our target has always been to connect the designers that showcase their work with us to international buyers. And we have managed to do that during the last two years.
“We have continued to empower them by including business seminars in our programming to ensure that they learn business management skills in addition to their industry specialist skills they already have.”
During last year’s event 30 designers both from Malawi and abroad showcased their work on the runway during the three-day event. However, this year, the event will host 15 designers since it will only be done in a day.
Nzika Wear’s Mwai Namaona in an interview said platforms such as those created by this festival are crucial to every participating designer as they offer a space for one to voice out one’s fashion statement through the creative pieces.
“The interaction with various international designers has greatly changed the way we approach the creation of a single collection. Potential buyers are also always very present during such events,” said Namaona.
As a designer, he said he retains hope that with a bit of commitment and if one possesses the ability to carve out a true identity, Malawian fashion designers stand a good chance of breaking into the international market.
He said: “There are a lot of talented young designers right here in Malawi whose work is unique and brilliant. If they can be perfectly groomed, they can make it big on the international scene.”
The African Fashion and Arts Festival is sponsored by LUSH Africa, a premium marketing, events and talent management company registered in Malawi and South Africa. The theme for this year’s event slated for November 10 is Dress To Impress, For Success.