ZIO MWALE, Lusaka
AWARD-WINNING Nigerian fashion designer, Ituen Basi, is gracing this year’s Zambia Fashion Week which opened at Lusaka’s New Government Complex yesterday.
The event, which is organised annually by Karen Nakawala, features over 50 local fashion designers.
Some of these include Kasonde Nkole of Kassilita Designs, Blink Designs Africa, Ariane Depaul of Ariane Trends, Cecilia Njobvu of Ulo Fashions, Mercy Chewetu of Queen Chitenge Fashion, Mwila and Rency, Faith Natasha of Naivy, and Juliet Mayida of Interfashional Africa.
Others are Nada Maksimovic of Nada Fashions and Lwenje, a local designer who will collaborate with Lesotho-based brand Tšeli.M and have themed their collection Garden Fairytale.
The collection will comprise not only custom designs by both designers but also custom made Tšeli.M hats.
Zambia Fashion Week organiser Grace Mwitwa said this year’s show is presenting the cream of Zambian designers as well as emerging designers who are eager to leave their stamp on the Zambian fashion scene.
“It’s a platform for our local designers to learn from each other. Our guest designers from Nigeria will as well bring something new for our local designers to learn from,” Grace explained to the Weekend Mail in an interview.
Zambian fashion enthusiasts are expected to turn up and show support to the local designers.
The guest designer, Ituen, is a graduate of the department of Theatre Arts from the University of Ife in Nigeria. She has designed and tailored costumes for stage productions and beauty pageants during her undergraduate years.
Her love for the arts and fashion took her to London to further her studies in the American College in London and London College of Fashion where she majored in tailoring and clothing technology.
She continued building her repertoire by moving onto bespoke bridal wear for a variety of clientele, later introducing her day and formal wear under the Ituen Basi label which she sold directly through selected outlets, including concessions at the Chelsea Collection, London.
Ituen launched her first home-grown collection in Lagos, Nigeria in 2009. Her unique use of Ankara is said to produce exceptional but wearable art pieces.
This has made her pieces a great success in Nigeria. Her fresh design interpretation and fabric treatment have since begun a new era of unique Ankara designs. Her ‘Ankara and Beads’ collection earned her “The Most Innovative Designer” award in 2009 whilst her ‘Independence’ collection earned her “Emerging Designer of the Year, Africa” 2010 at the Africa Fashion Week, Johannesburg.
Later in 2012 her ‘Double Take’ collection earned her “Designer of the Year, Africa” at the 2012 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg.
Last year the Zambia Fashion Week was well attended and graced by award-winning South African designer NobuNkosi Mukevho, who is behind the label Khosi Nkosi.
ZIO MWALE, Lusaka