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LSFW wraps up wool and mohair design contest

Bataung Moeketsi

THE Lesotho Fashion Week (LSFW) will next month conclude its wool and mohair design contest which was launched on 14 April 2020.

The conclusion will lead to the crowning of the winner on 30 September 2020.

Interested designers were asked to submit sketches of a 10-piece collection inspired by Basotho culture and heritage they wish to showcase at the LSFW.

The winner will showcase his/her 10-piece wool and mohair collection valued at M20 000 at the next season of LSFW. The dates for the next event are yet to be decided due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

LSFW this week said four female local fashion brands have been shortlisted.

The four have been competing through a series of fashion challenges and the overall winner with the highest number of points will be selected through public voting.

The participants include Avant Cee Elle, Cograbig, Da Vna and House of Ellitha and Sonja.

“The LSFW Wool and Mohair Design Contest is aimed at ensuring that a greater portion of natural fibres in Lesotho are processed in the country during this difficult period where borders remain closed, preventing farmers from trading internationally,” reads a statement from LSWF.

“The aim of LSFW Wool and Mohair Design Contest is to help Lesotho farmers secure other markets domestically.”

According to LSWF, the inability of farmers to secure alternative markets may result in the loss of income for stakeholders involved in the wool and mohair value chain.

“Most of the livelihoods of rural women and men are already being deeply affected by the Covid-19 crisis especially those who live in areas that depend mostly on the sale of wool and mohair.

“This initiative therefore, promotes the use of wool and mohair as the fabric of choice when designers manufacture their collections. In turn, this will stimulate the demand for wool and mohair products produced in Lesotho,” the statement reads.

Lesotho is the second largest producer of mohair globally and the majority of what is produced by local farmers is exported to China, Japan, France, Egypt, England, The Netherlands, Norway, Italy and Australia.

Wool is known to be Lesotho’s leading agriculture commodity export despite the country being a minor wool producer.

The wool and mohair industry has not been exempted from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen various sectors becoming crippled worldwide. Travel and export restrictions which have been imposed in various countries, including Lesotho to curb the spread of the virus have posed to be a challenge to the industry.

Through the contest, LSWF hopes to lend a hand in cushioning the setback suffered by the wool and mohair industry.

LSFW founder Mahadi Granier said although they would have preferred to host a physical event, the pandemic has forced them to be innovative in their activities.

She said they will continue to work with designers in an attempt to showcase their collections digitally.

“We are also working on having our first ever digital fashion week that captures the best of both worlds with ‘phygital’ (physical and digital) shows made up of live events with limited or no audiences.

“These shows will be broadcast to the public via livestream or video.

“However, this format requires tremendous financial support and we are grateful to be in discussions with several investors who have reached out to us, offering to partner and render financial support,” Mahadi said.

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