Two of Malawi's top fashion designers, Lilly Alfonso and Rose Kaleke have expressed excitement about the introduction of the Malawi Fashion Week (MFW), posed to be the major fashion event in the Southern African nation.
The first of its kind in the history of fashion design in the country, the inaugural MFW is scheduled to take from 30th May to 3rd June in the Malawian capital, Lilongwe.
The event is expected to bring together not only local and international designers but models as well and is deemed to be one of the key events that will assist in uplifting the image of Malawi, hence promoting tourism and boosting the country’s struggling economy.
“This is good for Malawi and as the fashion industry in Malawi grows we need such events in our country,” said Alfonso, a designer who has on occasion represented the country at international fashion events.
The Lilongwe-based designer, who runs her own fashion house Lilly Alfonso (LA), observed that the upcoming event “is another way of development” and will assist in educating and motivating the Malawian public. “People [in Malawi] don’t understand the difference between designing and tailor-making, so this will help a lot in educating the masses and realise that fashion designing is a big industry that can transform people’s lives.”
“I will encourage designers and people to take part in this. This is a way to appreciate fashion in Malawi and let’s see how best we can unite to make Malawi one of the major fashion homes,” added the designer, who also showcased her outfits at the Commonwealth Africa Night event in London last November.
Kaleke of Rozes Trendy Fashions, based in the commercial city Blantyre, agreed with Alfonso stating that MFW would be an eye opener.
“I expect to learn a lot from my fellow Malawian and visiting designers because in this trade we learn every day. I have very high expectations and I hope the general public will support the event,” said Kaleke who won the top prize in the 2009 Summer Fashion Bonanza.
“Fashion industries have proved to be good platforms for generating foreign currency and have also assisted in reducing poverty in other countries. If taken seriously, the industry can help create employment opportunities in our country,” she pointed out while advocating for government support of the event.
According to the organisers, Elegant Resources by ArianaLoise and African Dzuwa, during the Fashion Week, apart from the parades, there will also be several seminars in fashion theory and practices open to all and will attract international experts who will impart their vast knowledge to participants.
MFW has been introduced to create a platform for Malawi fashion designers to showcase their “state of the art designs” that will be available for purchase.
It is also aimed at embracing Malawi culture and be the trendsetter of local fashion labels and clothing brands by encouraging exports of fabric and clothing all over the world.
“This event is open to international fashion designers and models so that Malawi designers and models can improve and develop their skills with exposure from other cultural influences through networking with like-minded people all over the world,” MFW CEO Dawa Loga-Lemberger said.
During the MFW 2013, apart from the young and established Malawian designers, other parades will be done by guest international designers and PAN African designers and according to the organisers, arrangements have been made to work closely with Africa Fashion International (AFI) to spice it up and add colour to the event.
So far, MFW has attracted seven foreign models of which four will be coming from Zambia, one from Mozambique, one from Botswana and one from South Africa.
Meanwhile, registration to the event is open to designers, models, trainers, stylists, photographers as well as sponsors through the MFW website.