Molosiwa’s leap of faith into fashion

Molosiwa
Molosiwa

After enrolling to study medicine at the University of Botswana (UB), Aobakwe Molosiwa felt he was betraying his dream of becoming a fashion designer and decided to dropout.

Being a fashion designer has been a long held dream of his from when he was just a six-year-old boy schooling at Baobab Primary. 

“I used to record pageants such as Miss World and watch them everyday when I knocked off from school. That is when I fell in love with garments and designing,” said 25-year-old Molosiwa.

As he got older the interest and love for designing garments kept growing in him, but he was more focused on his academics. Molosiwa was an A student who majored in sciences.


After completing high school at Maru-A-Pula he registered for medicine. 

“At this point I felt I was not in the right environment because I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.

The turning point came when Molosiwa was on holiday, he bumped into an old friend that was studying fashion design in Durban, South Africa.

“She was surprised when I told her that I was studying medicine.

She knew me as a fashion person,” after a long discussion with his friend she managed to convince him to follow his dreams.

“I decided to make a brave decision, which was to deregister myself as a student at UB without my parents’ consent.  I only told them (of what I had done) after three days,” the soft-spoken designer said.

Upon breaking the news to his parents, they tried by all means to change his mind, warning him that the route he was taking was not to sustain him.  Eventually they let Molosiwa be and loosened up. 

He enrolled at Linea Academy in South Africa where he studied fashion design, “The experience was awesome. I got to learn how to operate sewing machines and designing at an in-depth level.”

During his last year as a fashion student his attention was caught by the first Colour in the Desert show, which he could not participate in because of  his academic commitments.

After completing his studies in 2012 he decided to return home to start his own fashion business trading as Gilded Sands.

“By then it was just quiet.  The local fashion world did not have much hype.  Things were quiet for close to five months as there were no clients,” said Molosiwa.

A breakthrough came when he showcased at the Gaborone Fashion Weekend (GFW) in 2012.  Immediately after his first gig he took part in the second instalment of Colour in the Desert.

His Gilded Sands collection impressed the judges and he won the young designer prize, which “ …catapulted my career because I got exposure within the region.”

He slowly grew into a household name and got invitations across the borders at events such as Swahili Fashion Week, HIFA and Zimbabwe Fashion Week where he was the headline designer.

Gilded Sands strictly specialises in women garments such as dresses, wedding dresses and other related garments.

Describing the local fashion scene he said there is a lot of challenges that one faces since the clientele and market is not that big. 

He said that local clothing stores are not willing to purchase from local designers as they bank on South African collections.

“Local designers only get gigs when they are contracted through fashion shows, ministries and parastatals.  You can go for a long time without any gigs,” he said.

His latest challenge is the ongoing loadshedding, “I work under pressure to finish my garments in fear of the long power cut.”

Molosiwa is currently preparing for X Fashion Show and Miss Botswana Fashion Show, both of which will be held at the end of this month.

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