LOCAL fashion designers have called on Basotho to embrace home-grown designs to stimulate the growth of the local fashion industry.
The designers said this at the recently held Insight Fashion Exhibition show which was held at Grind Nation where they exhibited their designs.
Some of the designers said they suffer immensely when locals prefer buying foreign labels to local designs. They said that the local fashion industry is still in its infancy and was likely to remain small due to lack of support.
Insight Fashion Exhibition was a collaboration of the Maseru Fashion Week and the Fabrice Era. Maseru Fashion Week is a platform where designers showcase their latest collections in a runway format while Fabric Era is a grouping of creatives.
The exhibition featured fashions brands such as Oddity, Bonono Merchants and Proverbial by Bella.
A member of the Fabric Era and a co-founder of Maseru Fashion Week, Nathan Makhalanyane, said the exhibition was aimed at creating a platform for local designers to showcase their work. He said the platform also enables designers to discuss ways of improving their industry through panel discussions.
“The fashion industry has a long way to go and one of our main challenges is that consumers shun local designers’ work,” Makhalanyane said.
He said another challenge which the fashion industry in Lesotho was facing was that local designs were not as accessible as they should be in the country.
“If a client places and order, they usually have to wait for a week or more which shows that local designs are not easily accessed,” he said.
Makhalanyane said designers need to ensure that they market their designs and also improve on their time of delivery to ensure expansion of their businesses becomes a reality.
He said among the issues they addressed in their panel discussions was the importation of fabric which they agreed also hampered the growth of the country’s economy.
“Importation of fabric cripples the already struggling economy.”
He however, said addressing some of the challenges would be an arduous journey as the country neither manufactures nor grows any of the materials needed to make fabric.
“Addressing the root of the problem would entail getting land to grow cotton but already it is something that you can see no one is ready to do,” Makhalanyane said.