Top local fashion designers came outin numbers at a well-attended show to support one of their own, Thato Mokgadi of Whis fashion, as she launched her autumn/winter 2013 fashion collection. The launch, which was the first of its kind this season, was held at Gaborone fairgrounds last week in an exclusive setting. Some of the fashion designers spotted in the crowd were Lebo Merafe, Blacktrash, Mothusi Lesolle,Tsosoletso Magang and Lady Gabana. Mokgadi shared with Time Out that the clothing that she makes, even for her fashion exhibitions is ready-to-wear, adding that,“The common misconception is that designers make clothes for fashion shows that aren’t wearable, but with Whis Fashion the clothes can go from the ramp to your closet exactly as they are. The way I did the show was so that people would be able to look and touch and interact with the models so as to get a feel of the clothes that I make and sell. And I deliver to anywhere in and out of the country in 7 days.” Some of local designers in attendance voiced the fact that they always support their own, despite the fallacy that they are in competition. Local designer Lady Gabana stated,“people think that as designers we are competing against each other but that is not true because we all have a different approach to design so naturally we produce clothing for different clientele. So I came out here to support Thato to say go girl, keep doing your thing.”Mokgadi’s mission to get Batswana to recognize the financial and social value of fashion was evident in the organization of the event, which was a mix of corporate and glamour. Mokgadi explained, “Paid fashion shows don’t necessarily reach customers, which is why I do flash fashion shows where I exhibit my designs in a very public space, where no one has to pay but everyone has front row access to the show. This in turn arouses curiosity and people will start asking questions about my brand. It is all a marketing strategy to get fashion to the people. I believe in out-of-the-box marketing.” In addition to the fashion collection, Whis Fashion’s brand new online shopping website was also launched. The site will serve as a platform that customers can use to make orders and purchase clothes. Guests in attendance were treated to a combination of good music, good vibes and fantastic fashion topped off with local Setswana praise poetry.
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