Ghana-based Malawi fashion designer Naphu Alinafe Misomali has won a lucrative dollar fund and a tailor-made fashion training with Vlisco Fashion Fund, a Dutch firm that promotes the production of African Print.
The Vlisco Fashion Fund aims at promoting up-and-coming fashion designers from West or Central Africa who harbour dreams of breaking into the fashion industry, with a $2 500 (about K1.05 million) cash prize and fashion training in the Netherlands.
Misomali, who is in Ghana for Fashion and Designing studies, has won the fund alongside DRC’s Marie-France Mumba and Evelyne Patricia Waota from Ivory Coast after beating hundreds of other hopefuls.
She is the youngest of the three Vlisco Fashion Fund 2014 ambassadors.
In an interview, Naphu said she triumphed after submitting entries in a fashion competition.
“Since African print is mostly worn by women, Vlisco cares to promote and empower women in various fields. The month March is celebrated as a women’s month and because Vlisco cares, it ran different competitions to empower women. This year’s theme was Dare to Dream,” she said.
According to Misomali, the competition is run every year in the women’s month and it is open to upcoming fashion designers, fashion illustrators, fashion stylists and it is open for women of all ages residing in West and Central countries.
“To win one was supposed to share their dreams as an upcoming designer, and submit a three year business plan and portfolio of their work,” she said.
The 27-year-old designer is excited about her triumph, saying this is a dream come true.
“Winning still feels surreal at the moment. I was hoping by the beginning of this week I would have woken up from this dream, but it seems I just have to accept this dream. I have always wanted to become a Vlisco designer. Their fabrics speak a lot to me and I believe I have a story to tell the world through the fabrics.
Misomali said she is yet to be communicated details regarding her training.
“Since I have just gotten the award on Saturday night, I’m yet to be communicated on when the training starts and all other details about the award. I’m hoping to should hear from them by the end of this week,” she said.
Misomali said she will use her prize money to set up her fashion business.
“This money is entirely for that, nothing else. In my business plan I stressed how passionate I am about Malawi fashion. I want to see Vlisco introduced to Malawi and southern Africa as a result of my triumph. Yes, everything is possible, watch the space Naphu is bringing Vlisco to Malawi,” she said.