Malawi designer Alfonso cherishes foreign exploits

The country’s leading designer Lilly Alfonso has described her recent international exploits as a great benefit to her fashion designing career as well as Malawi at large.

She was speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times from London, ahead of her participation at the Commonwealth Africa Night event tomorrow (Friday) night.

The event, which has been organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat staff, comes a week after Alfonso showcased her collection at the Anglo Nubia Africa experience show in the UK.

“I am getting a lot of support and recognition here. There are a lot of invites extended to my clothing line to attend functions,” she said.

Alfonso amongst models in London

Added Alfonso: “The more shows I’m attending the more I get motivated and understand the industry. As Malawi, we produce in smaller quantities but I want to bring change as I focus on international level,” she added. “There are several clothing lines that are interested in me designing for them.”

The designer, who is based in the capital Lilongwe, said there is a lot that she wants to achieve in the industry, which in the process will also benefit the people that produce the tie and dye material she uses in her designs.

During the Commonwealth event to be held at Marlborough House and Quadrant House, London, Alfonso is expected to showcase her collection which will also be put on auction and the proceeds will be donated to a grassroots charity in an African country.

According to Gertrude Chirambo, who is in the Communications and Public Affairs Division, the event provides an opportunity for the African community to showcase the rich, diverse cultures from the continent.

“We showcase our beautiful culture through music, fashion, dance and food. Each year, we also raise money for an African grassroots charity,” she told Nyasa Times.

“This year we will be focussing on the West Africa region. Proceeds from this year’s event will go to a charity in Ghana,” said Chirambo.

The fashion show will aim to showcase traditional and contemporary clothing and jewellery from 19 countries of the Commonwealth, including Malawi.

This year, the theme is “Connecting Cultures: one continent, one people, an assortment of cultures” and expected attendees are High Commissioners, diplomats, dignitaries, Commonwealth staff and other guests.

There are three Malawian staff who have been involved in planning this year’s event, namely Watipaso Mkandawire (Special Advisory Services Division), Lucie Shaba (Finance – Corporate Services Division) as well as Chirambo.

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