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‘Bigger, better’ fashion fair beckons

by Lesotho Times
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Mohalenyane Phakela

ORGANISERS of the Arts Week Fashion Fair set for next Wednesday have promised the biggest show ever, featuring eight local designers and over 20 models.

The Arts Week Fashion Fair will be held on Independence Day at Makoanyane Square along Maseru’s Kingsway Road.

The event is a joint venture between the Beauty Pageants Association of Lesotho, Lesotho Fashion Designers Association, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture.

The fair is part of the annual six-day Arts, Innovation and Culture Week which will run from 2 to 6 October 2017.

The Arts, Innovation and Culture Week was first held in 2015, with the aim of celebrating Lesotho’s cultural diversity and fostering unity among various stakeholders.

It will feature such activities such as carnivals, drama, conferences on women, youth and culture as well as a Lesotho cultural diversity lecture, poetry, contemporary and traditional music and tasting of foods from the diverse groups of people living in Lesotho.

The Arts Week Fashion Affair was first incorporated into the national celebrations last year, although at a small scale. This time around, the organisers have also brought on board South African consultant, Brian Erikssom, who has three decades of experience in the fashion industry.

Erikssom told the Weekender in a recent interview that he was determined to change perceptions about the fashion industry.

“It is through fashion shows that people are able to recognise art as not only a good business but one that enhances the quality of life by enjoying colours, textures and showcases good taste and styles,” he said.

“Sadly, Lesotho lacks the essence of fashion appreciation as there is a misunderstanding that art in general is just for decorations, paying less attention to the artistic side.

“I have put up fashion shows in Durban and also trained fashion designers for 28 years. For this show, I am working with the designers to ensure they produce the best outfits as well as adapting good business and marketing strategies.”

He said the designers at the fair will have the freedom to express their creativity, adding that there would be three collections of a contemporary range in menswear.

One of the designers, Mabeile Malataliana of the brand Lost In Lesotho, told this publication that fashion shows not only give them exposure, but help people to distinguish between fashion design and dressmaking.

“Although there is a thin line between dressmaking and fashion design, the latter involves a lot of creativity and it is through this kind of events that we are able to showcase the difference,” she said.

“For instance, I use a plain cloth on which I apply my own art before creating my own outfits with the reason being to stand out from the rest. A fashion show of this magnitude helps foster that unique identity in people’s mind and through their critics, one is able to know where to stick or go back to the drawing board.”

Another fashion designer, Nthabiseng Thakalekoala of Southa Brand said the fair is a platform for local designers to showcase their wares to the local and international market.

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