’MAKERESEMESE LETUKA and
MASERU – Lesotho Fashion Week and Sotho Kids Culture Agency have joined forces to assist the fashion industry to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic by launching a brand new campaign dubbed ‘Kopano ke Matla.’ In a press statement released in Maseru, the two brands indicated that through this campaign, the goal is to create 1 000 jobs in the fashion industry this year. The Covid-19 pandemic adversely affected Lesotho’s fashion industry, with the majority of the country’s fashion designers either being forced to permanently shut down their businesses or unable to make any money.
“We want to demonstrate to key fashion stakeholders such as designers, photographers, make-up artistes and models event producers, that if they want to go faster they must go alone. However, if they want to go further they must go together,” the press statement highlights. “The fashion industry in Lesotho is one of the worst affected sector in terms of job losses and falling income. Those worst affected are youth between the ages of 21 and 34, mostly females.” Just as the effects of the pandemic were not evenly distributed, the recovery will not be evenly distributed, the statement added.
However, in order to revitalise Lesotho’s fashion industry post-Covid-19 pandemic, Lesotho Fashion Week is collaborating on a campaign titled ‘Kopano ke Matla’ in which the two brands will jointly host over six events in 2022. These include Lesotho Fashion Week Spring Summer ‘22, featuring: Wool & Mohair Spring Summer ‘22 and Natural Fiber Wearable Art Spring Summer ‘22; and Lesotho Fashion Awards and Lesotho Fashion Week Autumn Winter ‘23, featuring: Wool & Mohair Autumn Winter ‘23, and Natural Fiber Wearable Art Autumn Winter ‘23.
“It is a cruel fact that the pandemic has hit the Lesotho fashion industry harder. The majority of the country’s local fashion designers either had to permanently shut down their businesses or if they continued operating, they were unable to make any income. The fashion industry in Lesotho is one of the worst affected groups in terms of job losses and falling income,” said Khozi Khebez, Sotho Kids Director.
He added their dream is to develop and grow Lesotho’s fashion and modelling industry and in order to attain this dream, as young people, they need to rely on themselves to do so, he said. “There is so much work to do and they cannot do it alone. They need to rethink how they work and realise that there is power in unity.” He went on to say that, unfortunately, many young people put themselves in a precarious position by habitually waiting for the government to fund their projects or to make things better.
They want to remind the youth that relying on government funding is not the solution to their problems, they are the solution, he added. They need to come together and contribute our individual expertise to grow the fashion industry, he noted. On behalf of Lesotho Fashion Week, Mahali Granier, said they want to promote the spirit of collaboration in the fashion industry.
“We want to encourage young people to collaborate and exchange skills. There is so much work to do in order to grow this industry. “Our two brands share a common vision of wanting to take the fashion industry in Lesotho to greater heights. Collaboration and not competition will help us reach our goals. The significance of this union is to show young people that we are stronger together and weaker apart,” she said.
The two brands worked together in 2020 on a project called Lesotho Fashion Week Wool and Design Contest. The winners of the contest, namely; Cograbig, Da Vna and Avant Cee Elle went on to showcase full collections at the Mzuzu Fashion Week in Malawi from October 26 to 31, 2020. Sotho Kids supplied two models who walked the ramp during the online showcase. They want to transform the fashion landscape in Lesotho.