Top local designer Mpho Kuaho of Issues Studio and Jophes clothing label was at this year’s Mercedes Benz Africa Fashion Week which was held at Johannesburg’s exclusive Melrose Archprecinct from 24 – 28 October.

Organised by Africa Fashion International (AFI), the four-day-long event featured nearly 20 runway shows with popular names from the fashion world, including swimwear designer Dax Martin and UK-based and Democratic Republic of Congo-born fashion designer Tina Lobondi, showcasing their exquisite ensembles at the glitzy fashion soiree.

Mpho is popularly known for her designs that are available at Options stores in Botswana as well as for the Colour in the Desert Fashion Week  (CIDFW) held annually in Phakalane. Armed with a Degree in Fashion Design from Linea Academy in Durban, she left the warm and beautiful beaches of Kwazulu-Natal’s capital for Botswana.

The young fashion graduate’s intention was to set the fashion industry alight and take it to heights that have never been thought possible in Botswana. In her years as a student, Kuaho always made it a point to take part in shows in and around Durban, to expose her to the industry as well as gain the necessary experience she would someday require to make it on her own.

“I took part in the Durban Designer Collection for two consecutive years and shared the stage with some of South Africa’s big industry names such as Francious Vedemme, who took me under his wing as an intern and polished me into a fine designer. Surrounding myself with people I looked up to and admired game me the drive and motivation to work hard towards realising my dream,” she says.

Having worked with many South African crews in the production of the Colour in the Desert fashion week, Kuaho established some useful contacts.

Those contacts bore fruit this year when she was invited to participate in the 2013 Mercedes Benz Africa Fashion Week (MBAFW).

“I met a lot of designers that have shown a lot of interest in coming down here and being a part of next year’s Colour in the Desert fashion week, and these include Kurt, Gert and Thula Sindi who have been here before but would like to come back and share their fashion expertise with locals,” she said.

Thula Sindi is one of South Africa best known young designers. Sophisticated, elegant, chic, feminine and timeless adequately describe his creations that graciously adorn the female form in all its facets, both young and matured. Sindi’s work has graced many runways including Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Lagos and Paris, where he had his first show in 2007.

His participation at the Couture Fashion Week in Paris led to his nomination as one of the Top 10 emerging designers in the FIMA: Afriqueest la mode pan African fashion contest. And to add to his list of accolades, the talented designer walked away with this year’s South African Tourism Designer of the Year Award at the just ended MBAFW.

For next year, people can look forward to a bigger and better Colour in the Desert as well as the possibility of her putting together a line in time for the 2013 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in South Africa.

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