The award winning fashion designer and entrepreneur, Ditiro Mashigo has been selected to be part of the 2017 International acclaimed Design Indaba Festival which will be held in Cape Town’s Artscape Theatre and simulcast live in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, Windhoek (Namibia)Lagos (Nigeria), Lausanne (Switzerland) and other cities throughout the world.
The delighted soft spoken designer believes that her participation in this years’ Design Indaba is recognition and a great opportunity for her to continue showcasing her art, talent and entrepreneurial prowess to take her clothing brand Serati Le Kgakana to the top of the global fashion market.
“I am very grateful to have been selected to be part of this global elite network platform like the Design Indaba. Opportunities like this one only comes once in a lifetime. So my plan is to effectively use this opportunity to network with likeminded international artists, showcase my capabilities as a young designer and connect with potential suppliers and employers,” she said.
This opportunity will benefit other struggling fashion designers
Ditiro’s aim to lobby all the relevant fashion promoters, academia support organisations, funders, mentorship network contacts and information gained at the festival will not only benefit her alone. As a fashion designer, she hopes her connections will also benefit the rural and emerging fashion designers that she is working with.
“I am very much aware that my participation in this festival can create opportunities for myself, but as a selfless pro-township fashion activist I hope I will attract many key strategic partners which will benefit hundreds of other struggling fashion designers beyond the Design Indaba,” said Ditiro.
Ditiro is part of 2017 Design Indaba and the Department of Arts and Culture Design Indaba Emerging Creatives. According to their communications team: “The programme has seen many contemporary South African Creatives launching their careers through the platform. Every year, the Design Indaba presents a select group of 40 daring and innovative Emerging Creatives. The selected emerging designers then attend workshops from industry professionals, network with fashion community legends and exhibit their work at the Artscape Theatre Centre alongside the Conference, Film Fest and Nightscape. The 2017 Emerging Creatives exhibitions is held at the Artscape in Cape Town, the KZNSA gallery in Durban and at Fox Junction in Johannesburg.’’
Government empowering and linking artists with opportunities
On the other hand, Department of Arts and Culture minister spokesperson, Zimasa Velaphi said the ministry’s long term plan is to use initiatives like Emerging Creatives as vehicle to empower, expose, fund and link up many competent struggling artists with the potential suppliers and customers. ‘’It is a known fact that in this country and all over the world, that emerging artists who deserve much needed backing from arts stakeholders actually don’t get it. “As a caring government we have made it our responsibility to do exactly just that or at the very least create connections with already existing platforms like Design Indaba. The aim behind that is to make sure that artists / fashion designers like Ditiro can also thrive and most importantly have access to market,’’ said Velaphi.
The prestigious gathering features the best of global creativity all on one stage. Other renowned artists who are expected to be part of the 2017 Design Indaba artist festival include Norwegian architecture Kjetil Thorsen, Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, German industrial designer, tech entrepreneur Marko Ahtisaari , Kenyan photographer, Osborne Macharia, Netherlands born social entrepreneur Isabel Mager Dutch filmmakers Lernert and Sander , just to mention the few.
Fashion industry advice
A fellow Pretoria based fashion designer, Khomotjo Malatji Mopai (Grapevine Fashion Founder and Creative Director) who also kick started her career via Design Indaba, encouraged Ditiro to go the festival with an open mind.
“Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives is one the most powerful career accelerating platforms for up and coming designers, as a beneficiary of that programme, my advice to Ditiro is, now you are a few steps closer to achieving what most budding fashion designers desire. Your selection is an indication that you are officially among the fashion designers in the country. Now the best thing you can do during Design Indaba festival is operate more like an entrepreneur than an artist. Make lasting connections that will generate money beyond the event. Align yourself with key stakeholders that can assist you to go and showcase in other global fashion platforms like Paris Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week etc,” said Khomotjo.
Ditiro has also showcased in national and international platforms like the Johannesburg Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Unconventional Fashion Statements (UFS) SANAAA Africa Festival and Tshwane Fashion Counsel, to name a few.