Just like anywhere in the world, in Malawi the phenomenon of copying is not new.
This has not spared the fashion and business industries that are crammed with copycats that have no creative ideas to come up with their own products.
For example, if one ventures into fashion industry today, the next thing they realise is that copycats are stealing or have stolen from their ideas and claimed it as theirs.
It is also a common trend to see people simply replicating what others are doing, failing to generate their own ideas to achieve diversity and competition on the market.
But as the fashion industry booms and copycats continue to threaten the business environment, creativity and issues of copyright, a new fashion designer from Blantyre has emerged with a unique touch of designing bags.
His name is Bongani Kalambo who operates his trade at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
His main product that he has ushered on the market is a bag which he has branded Agnes, named after his mother.
But he creates bags ranging from hand, laptop and travelling bags using chitenje.
“Our business at the moment is the Agnes bag which is making impressive sales. However, the use of chitenje in designing is one of those techniques aimed at maintaining and promoting a traditional identity to the products,” said Bongani.
Chitenje is popular fabric which is used by several designers such as Lilly Alfonso, Nzika Arts, Chimwemwe Mwenyemasi, and many others to create their products.
Kalambo said he has established a company called 265 Gear which creates and sells Agnes bags and other products.
Currently, there is one selling point at Chileka Airport.
“Basically, I sell most of the bags in universities through networking with friends and clients. But plans are in the pipelines to create links to Ireland where there is also huge demand for Agnes bags,” said the 24-year-old fashion designer.
Apart from making Agnes bags, 265 Gear also creates men’s wear which is branded Fine Man and has since dressed popular musicians such as Saint and Zika B.
It also dressed the entire crew in Zika B’s video Ndinyamule.
His company started small, but now has grown to an entrepreneurship venture which has a founder, designer, tailor and a financial controller.
Kalambo, who is a shipping logistics officer at Chileka Airport, said he was driven by passion to venture into the bag designing industry. And his vision was to take it to international heights.