Five up-and-coming Malawian fashion designers are set to gain international recognition following their invitation to the third Southern African Fashion Conference (SAFC) next month.
Scheduled for Devland, Johannesburg, from April 30 to May 4, the conference will also host a fashion week that will see Malawi models rocking the runway with designers showcasing their creative side.
“The identified designers are Home Grown Fashions by TJ Chirwa, Divine Designs by Memory Chimchere, Ghanian-based Naphu Designs by Naphu Misomali, Charme89 by Neemah Charles and Sanna Kansichi’s Splendid Designs Zone. So, in total there are nine designers coming outside South Africa.
“Five will come from Malawi. The other four are coming from Zambia and Tanzania with the host having 23. Although the number might be higher from within the country, 23 is a no brainer. It’s the designers outside South Africa we are anxious about because this will be our first time to work with designers outside our country,” said Bongile Nomangwane, female communications manager.
However, Neemah Charles will miss the opportunity as she has other engagements.
“I have examinations in between the dates for the fashion week so I will not attend in an interview,” she said.
The other four are upbeat about their participation, Said Misomali: “It is the step in the right direction for Malawi’s budding fashion industry”.
“I am excited about the whole opportunity which i believe is not just for me but Malawi as a whole. We will definitely learn more from the experience which is important for our small industry”.
According to the official invitation letter sent to all the designers, they are responsible for their own transport, including accommodation in South Africa, with a minimum of 15 garments required and no stage fee is to be paid, among others.
“ I am not sure of how much that will cost each one of us. I will do my best to raise the funds. But it is important therefore that all the listed designers from Malawi collaborate and find some companies or organisations that would love to sponsor our going there. We can never know until we try,” explained Chimchere.
Apart from the fashion week, SAFC also showcases a fashion conference, township fashion parties, urban fashion parties, hair styling competition, Miss SAFC and Miss Teen SAFC contests.