Lack of markets; stumbling block for fashion designers-Olopeng

Ministry of Youth collaborating with Ministry of Investments to negotiate shop floor space with international brands operating in Botswana.


During the official opening of the annual fashion show, Fashion Without Borders at the National Museum this past weekend, the Minister of Youth, Thapelo Olopeng said he was aware that the fashion industry faces challenges in its quest to grow.
He said lack of markets for fashion designers was one of the stumbling blocks that hinders progress in the industry. “This is why my ministry is collaborating with Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry to negotiate with international retail brands that operate in Botswana, to give local designers shop floor space on their premises,” he said, adding that it is through such initiatives that the local fashion industry could grow.
Olopeng says fashion designers also have an important role to produce the best quality and meet the required specifications and targets of various brand stores. “It will be disappointing for these stores to come back to government complaining that local fashion designers are producing inferior quality and cannot meet demand,” he said.
Last year, Olopeng advised the fashion industry to establish a committee that will look into the needs of the industry. On the 18th April 2017, he will hold consultative meeting with all models to discuss prospects of growing their sector, following the establishment of the committee.
Olopeng appreciated the effort of Fashion Without Borders in partnership with Botswana Fashion Designers Association in their quest to grow the industry. “I am informed that fashion buyers, Mr Price Group and model scouts from Boss model management were present at the fashion show and I want to thank them for recognizing that Botswana has talent. It is a dream of every fashion designer to be part of a fashion show that has fashion buyers,” he said.
Last week the Ministry of Youth took models and designers to the  Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Capetown and also sponsored some designers attend the Toronto Africa and London Fashion Week.