Players in the local fashion industry have teamed up in a bid to facilitate the establishment of the first-ever Malawi Fashion Council (MFC).
According to a concept we have seen, the council is expected to advance the interests of the local fashion and design industry by harnessing and sharing collective knowledge, experience and resources.
The council will represent the sector in strategic partnerships with government departments, non-governmental organisations and international fashion agencies, according to the concept.
The council, set to be established as a non-profit making body, will also work hand in hand with government in policy formulation that will help in job creation, innovation and environmental protection through the promotion of ethical and sustainable practices.
“A lot of people are becoming aware of the importance of looking good in well-designed and tailored clothes. It is high time Malawi as a nation recognises the creative side of fashion.”
“Currently, it is not appreciated much because there is no national leadership for designers,” reads the document in part.
One of the leaders championing the cause, Lorraine Kljajic said in an interview that there is need to have a formal leadership for the sector to address myriad challenges that players in the industry face.
She said a 10-member task force has been established and it is overseeing the setting up of the primary structures leading up to the formation of the council.
Kljajic, one of the fashion designers currently based in South Africa said: “There is so much goodwill. So many players representing different faces of fashion have come on board. That in itself is encouraging. We want to draw experiences from elsewhere to help in addressing the challenges facing our industry at home.”
Some of the names in the taskforce include international award-winning designer Lily Alfonso, Nomonde Sambakunsi, Chris Daka, George Luwayo, who is a lawyer and model, Jay Fashion Collection, Kulukaya Sidik and Wala Clothing.
Alfonso said so far the grouping has already courted government agencies which are crucial to the formation of the council. She said the outcome of the initial meetings has shown that government is willing to help their cause.
She said: “For long, we have failed to seek information which can help us grow. There are so many things such as right ownership and marketing that we have ignored for long. If we continue to speak on these things at an individual level, it will not work, we need to come together.”
In a separate interview, Sambakunsi said the growth of the local fashion industry means a lot of jobs being created in the fashion sector. She said Malawi has enough talent that can even be exported to other countries.
“The council will act as a coordinating body and platform for fashion designers and other players in the industry. Through this, efforts to earn international exposure will be made easy too,” she said.
The proposed leadership structure for the council includes the board of directors/advisory board, executive committee and ordinary committee members.