The KZN Fashion Council in partnership with the South African Footwear and Leather Export Council (SAFLEC) sent three KZNFC designers who specialize in shoe and handbag craft to Morocco to showcase their creations at the Morocco Style International Fashion, Textile and Accessories Fair which took place on the 28-31 March 2019 in Casablanca. For this opportunity, the sponsors created a selection criterion which entailed the following; designers were required to be members of the KZN Fashion Council, have registered businesses and export numbers.
The KZN Fashion Council then sent a call out for applicants who met these requirements. Through a rating process, the Department of Trade and Industry made the final selection. The designers who were selected are Buhlebukazulu Zulu of Khazeka brand, Dumisane Kweyama of ELPPAG brand and Thobekile Mkhize of Mabotho Interior Design.
As an empowerment gesture, the KZN Fashion Council hosted a send-off brunch for the designers on 20 March 2019 at Market Restaurant. The brunch gave a platform to KZN Fashion Council chairperson, Dr. Joy Ndlovu, who shared words of wisdom and empowerment to the designers. She also noted that the board members of the KZN Fashion Council were proud and confident that the designers who were selected as a result of their hard work, a quality reflected in their products and their commitment as members of the council.
Dr. Ndlovu also thanked the designers for committing to the KZN Fashion Council whose aim is to empower, grow and connect their designers to the appropriate platforms. That would help them to achieve long-term goals such as gaining brand exposure and generating sales.
The designers shared a summary of their brands, challenges they’ve experienced in the industry as well as messages of appreciation to the KZN Fashion Council. One of the designers, Dumisane Kweyama from ELPPAG brand explained that when he creates his products, he only designs limited editions because he currently does not have the capacity and manpower to produce large quantities. This has been a major challenge for him.
Kweyama added that being able to attend and showcase his talent at his first international trade show is a great opportunity for the growth of ELPPAG. He hopes to attend many more international trade shows. Buhlebukazulu Zulu from Khazeka brand, a fellow Morocco Style International Fashion, Textile and Accessories Fair attendee selected from the KZNFC, shared some of the challenges she has faced in the design industry. She hopes that this trip will equip her with the skills to overcome these challenges.
The KZN Fashion Council is pleased to see that their empowerment programs and opportunities for members have succeeded. The Council’s core mission is to support and empower their designers through effectively organizing and coordinating development programs for people in the fashion and design industry. The KZN Fashion Council was established to respond to the need for support in the fashion and design sector and would, therefore, like to encourage all KZN’s emerging, junior designers, established designers and SMME’s to sign up for membership. For more information regarding membership, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 031 825 8569.