More than 200 fashion enthusiasts graced the inaugural Intwasa Fashion Show held at the weekend amid controversy over the participation of plus-size women.
Nine designers mainly from Bulawayo participated at Hope Centre in the City of Kings on Saturday night instead of the initial ten after one designer withdrew in protest over the inclusion of plus-size models.
Officials confirmed one designer dropped for failing to comply with some of the requirements of the fashion show, particularly to design ranges that catered for every person, including slim and fully-figured.
Gilmore Moyo, one of the organisers of fashion show, expressed disappointment over the conduct of the designer that pulled out, pointing out that said designers should learn to appreciate fully-figured women.
“One designing board rejected the idea to cater for plus-size women and we are not happy. We live in a part of Africa where there are curvy women, we cannot follow Western trends, but have to accept who we are hence it is ideal for designers to celebrate and acknowledge them through their works,” a disgruntled Moyo said.
Clothing Indaba winner – Sanah Designs (Saneliso Mpofu) showcased alongside Bulawayo Polytechnic Fashion students, Penelope Lacha and Zanele Dube, Chinhoyi University student Lorraine Rusire, award winning Umlongo (Wani Baker), Rags, Crox Designs, Shadow by Sidumiso, Ara Kani, and Ganu Creations who recently showcased at the Sadc Fashion Week.
Guest designer Tapfumanei Munenge showcased outstanding diamond collections that stole the show. The budding designer recently showcased at the Soweto Fashion Week.
The runway was colourful and eye-catching as organisers engaged Bulawayo celebrities – actress Evey Mwatse, TV host, model and musician Langelihle Ndlovu, (ZBCtv presenter – Nyasha Mtamangira, Djembe Monks Dj – Slimzar Wa Afrika, Club DJ – King Staffa, Face of Africa representative – Tholakele Dlamini and other professional models from Bulawayo.
Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo public relations officer Nkululeko Nkala, however, said the show was a success despite the controversy over the withdrawal of one designer.
“Intwasa is a multi-participatory arts festival and fashion is an arm of the arts. For us the event was a success, it will be wonderful to see this kind of response at the main festival next year.
“We are glad that the fashion show attracted a different kind of audience,” Nkala said.