S.Africa’s Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Champion Of African Fashion



Johannesburg, South Africa’s gorgeous Moloi-Motsepe, one of the richest women in Africa, is a staunch promoter of fashion designers from a young, vibrant and culturally diverse.

Style has run through her veins since she was a child growing up in Soweto, and for her it’s time for “African designers to shine” on the international platform.

A decade and a half ago, she founded the Johannesburg and Cape Town Fashion Weeks, which bring together designers from across the continent to represent them on the world stage.

Her goal is now beginning to bear fruit, she told AFP with a confident smile at a new luxury boutique in an affluent area of ​​Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic capital.

“Now more than ever, African designers are being recognized at home,” the 58-year-old said, as she donned elegant makeup and wore loose black pants with a silk blouse.

“At the big events on the continent, music awards, football events, you will see celebrities dressed in clothes from local designers,” said Patrice Motsepe, wife of the president of the African Football Confederation. “They definitely have become household names.”

Along with her husband, who ranks ninth on Forbes’ list of the richest people in Africa, they are South Africa’s most famous “power couple.”

Elsewhere, “celebrities, Michelle Obama or Beyoncé … are now wearing African brands,” she said, adding that the Black Panther-related phenomenon in Wakanda “spread our culture, our heritage to the world.” impact on driving fashion.

Moloy-Motsepe grew up in Soweto, a poor town that was a hotbed of resistance to the apartheid regime. It was there that she acquired a sense of style.

“My grandmother made her own clothes … and she wore them so elegantly,” she said. Soweto “people loved to dress up”, although they were closely associated with and followed American trends and brands.

Later, she had the opportunity to travel and visit the Paris fashion show of the talented designer John Galliano.

It was a shocking discovery when I realized that designers “take inspiration from history, heritage, culture, which I thought was abundant in Africa.”

Africa seemed to be an inspiration to Western designers, “but I didn’t see many African designers on the runway,” she said.

  • “Changed Mindset”: This was the impetus for creating a space to “promote global recognition of the best African authors”, a project that the MD turned philanthropist and financier of the creative arts launched with energy.

“First, I had to make sure that they were well recognized here at home so that we could change the mindset, make people appreciate and appreciate African fashion designers,” not only as tailors, but also as respected designers.

It was an ambitious task, not yet done, but already underway.

“African consumers now recognize that their own designers are no less valuable than the brands they buy globally,” she said.

Showcasing at Johannesburg Fashion Week last week was Cameroonian fashion designer Anna Ngann Yonn, whose label Kreyann is making a name for itself in Afrialsok and beyond.

The fashion weeks he launched in South Africa, featuring supermodels like Alek Wek from South Sudan and prestigious guests from New York, Milan and Paris, allowed designers to “showcase their work, network with other designers and gain media attention “.

The next phase of the mission is to take them to “international platforms” to ensure Africa’s presence in the global fashion dialogue. Africans in the diaspora play a key role as ambassadors.

The businessman recalls how various African designers were exhibiting alongside fashion shows in Paris a few years ago.

Some of the reviews were “positive, some not so positive,” he said, laughing softly. But “we take it as a step in the right direction.”

“For young designers and those of us who were considered established designers then and still are, voice was important,” Moloy-Motsepe said.

Africans are still underrepresented among the big global brands. And in many parts of Africa, foreign sports brands remain a symbol of social success, he agreed.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he said, but the African fashion advocate is not deterred.

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