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Botswana 2nd Batho Fashion Week

Botswana 2nd Batho Fashion Week 1

The picturesque town of Kasane, nestled at the crossroads of Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, played host to the spectacular second edition of the Batho Fashion Week from 10 to 13 August.

This year’s event was a celebration of fashion, culture and collaboration, drawing fashion aficionados, industry experts and creative minds from around the world.

The fashion week featured an array of activities including masterclasses by industry experts, networking opportunities, and a showcase of Botswana’s varied fashion industry.

From captivating designs to vibrant expressions of heritage, it was a celebration of style like no other. The 3-day clothing show celebrated fashion designers, models, and creatives from all over the world.

Batho Fashion Week is the only fashion week in Botswana.

The first night of Batho Fashion Week, which is the only fashion week in Botswana, dazzled with an extraordinary display of fashion and culture that left patrons in awe.

The show is aimed at diversifying the economy of Botswana (tourism sector) by tapping into fashion tourism, an area that remains very limited.

The event is held annually in Kasane, where four countries meet (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia), which is also the most-visited tourist town by international travelers because of its diverse wildlife.

Botswana 2nd Batho Fashion Week2

At this year’s event, Botswana’s Minister of Tourism, Philda Nani Kereng called on the on Batho Fashion Week organisers to tap into the power of fashion tourism and turn Botswana into a premier destination for fashion enthusiasts from across the world. According to her, the event can be a powerful force for economic diversification and sustainable development as it has done in other economies around the world including in the African continent.

“This momentous occasion speaks to our revised Tourism Policy which seeks to expand our tourism products across sectors of the economy including the fashion industry,” the Minister stated.

Philda Kereng also indicated that her Ministry is currently developing the MICE strategy aimed at promoting Botswana as a destination of choice for international event thus the event is in line with the pending strategy.

Organisers of the event maintained that Batho Fashion Week is not merely a celebration of fashion, ”but a revolution towards economic diversification. Our mission is to tap into the yet unexplored realm of fashion tourism and turn it into an economic powerhouse for Botswana.’’

“The event encapsulates the rich cultural heritage of Botswana and Africa while fostering fashion sustainability and cultural preservation.”Our unique approach integrates traditional craftsmanship with contemporary fashion, promoting knowledge transfer and ensuring that our traditional textile wisdom transcends generations,” the organisers said further.

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However, this year’s edition had 16 designers comprising of 10 locals and 6 internationals, who came from the USA, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Kenya. There were also 30 models introducing the spring/summer collection.

Batho Fashion was founded in 2021, as a platform to empower local communities to benefit from tourism in a lasting way and diversify the economy from wildlife only to fashion tourism. Part of the proceeds from the annual event go towards supporting families that have been affected by human-wildlife conflict.

With the global fashion industry valued at $1.53 trillion as of 2022 (Statista, 2023), fashion industry presents potential worth the country diversifying its tourism to include fashion.

Namibian Fashion Designer Luis Munana

Namibian fashion designer Luis Munana @ 2nd Batho Fashion Week

Amid the vibrant wildlife and awe-inspiring landscape, the fashion extravaganza showcased a unique blend of tradition, innovation and cross-border partnerships that left a lasting impression.

Namibian fashion designer Luis Munana summed up the sentiment of collaboration, saying: “I was invited to be part of a panel discussion and also just to see how we as Namibia can collaborate with Botswana in terms of fashion.”

A focal point of the fashion week was the insightful panel discussion which Munana participated in. The discussion centred on brand sustainability, a theme resonating deeply with fashion’s role in shaping a more environmentally conscious industry.

Munana described the experience as “a very interesting trip”, underscoring the value of engaging in meaningful dialogues which pave the way for positive change.

Beyond the runway, the event provided a platform for cross-cultural exchanges.

Munana shared his encounters with prominent figures in the tourism sector, saying: “I got to meet the minister of tourism of Botswana, Philda Kereng, as well as the minister of tourism of Zambia, Rodney Sikumba.”

These interactions underscored the potential for collaboration, not just within the fashion sphere, but also in forging connections that could amplify the tourism sectors of both countries, he says.

“The idea for us is to collaborate so there will be designers, models and other creatives to attend this year’s edition of the MTC Windhoek Fashion Week,” he says.

This vision encapsulates the power of cross-border partnerships to create a stage where creativity, innovation and culture could converge and flourish.

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