Last month, Mozambique's capital, Maputo, was taken by storm when 215 designers with 1 563 creations made their way to the country's 10th annual Fashion Week. What followed was eight days showcasing the best talent from the coastal nation, some star appearances by international brands, and the hottest fashion Africa has to offer.
We caught up with MFW CEO Vasco Rocha to find out how an event that 10 years ago featured just nine designers is now a world-class fashion calendar highlight.
1.What’s your role in Mozambique Fashion Week?
I am the Founder and Executive Producer of the event. For 10 years I've been trying to push MFW to international standards by choosing the best path for such an event in a country that doesn't have a textile industry, modelling agencies and so on. This event was born in a poor country with no inclination for fashion at the time, and 10 years on MFW has changed minds, created labour, found talent and called attention to Mozambique in a very positive and innovative way.
2.How long has MFW been in existence and where do you see it going?
MFW has existed since 2005 and the work has been hard, in the sense that we need to do everything - create a platform, challenge talented people to come, show the Mozambicans other ways to see life, encourage them to be proud of themselves and proud of the country, and create something that is more than a ‘party’ – something that showcases creative minds and their talent.
This year, we chose different catwalks, from real trains to real planes as well as emblematic venues in Maputo, to draw attention to the event. In the years to come I see the event taking a different and more demanding route. In the past, we called on a lot of new talent for the event; now we will be demanding quality, and that will be our main goal. I'm not saying that we don't have designers of quality, because we do, but we need them to understand that they need to work even more and they should be more demanding of themselves.
3.Where was the location for this year’s MFW?
This year we had a different concept. We created a Fashion Villa - a place inside the Railway Station with more than 2,000 square meters of space! We had a Fashion Lounge operating from 10am to 2 am, a Brand Up, a Fashion Show area and an After Party area.
4.Who attended this year?
Many designers came from different parts of the world – from Japan to Portugal, from Nigeria to South Africa and potential talent from Mozambique itself. We fitted 215 designers with 1 563 looks for 8 days of shows (in 2005 we had 9!).
5.Your favourite designers from this year’s shows, and why?
My favourites from Mozambique were Feliciano da Camara (pictured top), Tausse Daniel (above), Shazia Adams (below) and, from the international designers, Micaela Oliveira. I also liked all the Pan Africans we had in the show. I was also impressed with the work of the SAFW designers shown in MFW.
6.Any fresh faces emerging on the catwalk this year?
We had fresh models who had little experience on the catwalk. MFW is the only fashion event that creates opportunities for them and shows them to the world. Every year we scout, cast and work with them in order to have a good team of models portraying the best of Mozambique and this year the modelling team was very good all round.
7.Any fashion bloggers we should know about in Maputo?
We had Adam Levi in Maputo. It is the third time. He was here in our second year, two years later and again now. I believe that he is the right person to evaluate all the progress we have made during these last 10 years.
Images: Ivan Naude