Mmegi Online :: Kuaho’s illustrious fashion odyssey thus far
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Kuaho’s illustrious fashion odyssey thus far

Her name is synonymous with Botswana’s fashion industry. Today she is still a force to reckon with in the African fashion scene. Arts & Culture correspondent GASEBALWE SERETSE took the time to chat with the award-winning Mpho Kuaho
By Gasebalwe Seretse Fri 07 Nov 2014, 14:07 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Kuaho’s illustrious fashion odyssey thus far








“Ever since winning Redds African Fashion Award, I haven’t entered another fashion competition as I have realized that now I have a duty to groom up and coming fashion designers in Botswana behind the scenes,” said the fashion designer, Mpho Kuaho, explaining why she no longer makes news headlines.

She told Arts & Culture that ever since winning the glamorous award, she has been invited to a number of top fashion events internationally such as the Swahili Fashion Week in Tanzania and the Vastra Textile Fair in India where she has acted as a judge and a mentor.

She described Swahili Fashion Week as a very important event in Africa’s fashion calendar as it draws thousands of fashion enthusiasts from all over the world and she always feels honoured whenever she is invited to such a prestigious affair.

“The Vastra Textile Fair is also an important event because this is where you can get the best of the best fabrics in the whole world. The organisers pick 360 of their serious buyers from all over the world to take part in the event and it pleases me that I am always among those people,” Kuaho said.Locally, she has been part of the Shinning Light Awards organised by the Diamond Trading Company Botswana where she also mentored young artists and designers.

She told Arts & Culture about Colour in the Desert Fashion Week that she has hosted a couple of times with her partner, Tsoseletso Magang.

“I am someone who believes that in Botswana, there is potential for fashion so I together with my partner worked had to bring the fashion world into the country.

It was not an easy thing to host such an event because a lot of money is involved and it’s hard to find sponsors in the country,” she said.

She further said that to make sure that the event was a success, they invited top designers in Africa such as David Tlale and Gert Cortzee adding that it did not come cheap as they only wanted the best for the country.

According to Kuaho, the show, which debuted in 2011 brought together industry players such as models, fashion designers, fashion bloggers, fabric sellers and journalists.

Although in her admission, the show was not profitable, she was content that she was able to mentor a good number of Batswana.

“Funds allowing, Tsoseletso and I hope to host another show in the near future because somehow we need to keep the

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concept alive,” she said.

Kuaho, who specialises in high fashion or in layman’s terms, red carpet attire told Arts & Culture that she has decided to go commercial so she has opened a factory in Gaborone.

She also has a shop in one of the biggest shopping centres in the city where she showcases and sells her wares.

“We recently supplied a reputable store with our products but we realised that we needed to work on some things before we continue with the deal. We are also working on producing quality corporate uniforms for different companies,” she said.

Kuaho said that like other businesses she was hit by the recent credit crunch, but she persevered and that she is happy for the breakthroughs that she is starting to experience.

According to the designer, there was a point in time when she felt like giving up because it was tough but now, she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“When I look back and think of all the hurdles had to overcome, I sometimes cannot believe it myself.  I am thankful for my friends and family members who stuck with me and encouraged me when I was really down.  I want to say to those who are on the verge of giving up on their dreams to not do so because God will most certainly see them through. If you open up about your challenges, you will be surprised by the number of people who will come through for you,” she said.

The top designer has so far dressed personalities such as Lister Boleseng, Nnunu Ramogotsi, Nono Siile, Kearoma Rantao and Shanti Lo who is a designer in his own right.

“In our country, it is difficult to have a celebrity who is dressed by one designer as they hop from one to another.  But I am happy to say that I have dressed some of the leading celebrities in the country,” she said.

Kuaho decried Batswana not appreciating fashion the way it should be, as most of them do not exploit the talent that is already available in the country. 

She said that she feels that government has done a lot to try to improve the fashion industry in the country by sending potential designers to school and hosting fashion shows.

The talented designer promised her fans that she is going to officially launch her label next April where she is going to showcase her latest works.

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