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Lessons from Mozambique Fashion Week

When you invite me to anything that allows creativity and exchange of dialogue in a unique manner, I really get excited.

Global Citizenship with Gilmore Tee

Zimbabwean Ara Kani showcasing in Mozambique.  Picture: Simon Deiner SDR Photo
Zimbabwean Ara Kani showcasing in Mozambique. Picture: Simon Deiner SDR Photo

A few months back, I was introduced to Mozambique Fashion Week by “my friend” called google. Google search is an incredible friend when in need; many people have found solutions from merely googling, with some kids in the 21st century being raised through google.

Being an Anglophone individual, I had never thought of penetrating the African Portuguese and French-speaking nations until four years back when I got a job offer to work in Senegal. My one and a half year stint in Senegal opened up my mind and made me realise the opportunities that exist in other non-English-speaking countries within and outside Africa. So, when I got an invitation to attend and facilitate a workshop in Maputo as part of the Mozambique Fashion Week, I jumped out of my socks with excitement. Before I knew it, I was sending through my passport details, logos of the fashion brand from Zimbabwe which was going to showcase as part of the Pan-African Designers show and preparing a collection for the event.

Time flew at the speed of light and in no time I was boarding my flight to Mozambique at the Harare International Airport. With only two main bags, one with a collection from award-winning fashion brand Ara Kani and the other with my personal belongings, all I was waiting for was for the delayed flight to take off for Maputo. On arrival, I was welcomed by a hot breeze which flashed memories of the first time I landed in Dakar, Senegal; that humid dry weather condition with a thick blanket of hot air.

Mozambique was a complete experience, and I learnt that:

*You need to learn the basics of a language spoken in the country you are going to visit, when you greet someone in a language they are familiar with, you touch their hearts. The mere bon diya [how are you] and obrigado [thank you] made a difference.

*A little research is always important. When coming up with the Ara Kani collection, there was a lot of research done on the climate conditions and also the culture of Mozambique. The collection presented was full of colour, something that is unique among the Mozambican community. The material used was also appropriate to the climatic conditions of Mozambique. When you talk of a rainbow nation, Mozambique represents that in culture and lifestyle.

*Being on the front row is not about being seen by other people that you are of importance, it is about taking notes of trends that are being showcased on the runway and extracting inspiration from that. You can only grow in what you do by observing other outstanding creatives around you.

*There is need for the corporate world to fully support the creative industry for it to grow, but it is also the responsibility of the creatives to fully approach their skills as an entire business for it to be appealing. Companies such as Vodacom, Heineken and Toyota, are partners of the Mozambique Fashion Week.

*When you produce and supply quality goods and services, people will eventually take note and consume what you are offering. There is no room for mediocrity in business; you need to take yourself seriously for everyone to take you seriously. Every night was sold out at the fashion week, with some audience members standing throughout the shows.

As an individual, no one owes you anything; you need to push and work extremely hard for what you believe in and make other people believe too. Mozambique Fashion Week demonstrated a good relationship with the corporate world and also the business of fashion and art as a whole. It all comes down to how one presents their product and their approach to business and what they do.

Gilmore Tee is a social entrepreneur, global citizen, curator, publicist & host, who works within the Zimbabwean creative industry, with a strong bias towards fashion. He is the founder of Hunnar Management Agency
Twitter: Gilmore Tee

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