BY SHARON SIBINDI
RENOWNED Filipino fashion designer John Ablaza yesterday said he saw a lot of potential in local fashion designers.
Ablaza, currently visiting the country’s second largest city Bulawayo where he participated in a fashion show, is keen to provide mentorship to local designers who he said had the potential to compete globally.
“My main purpose of coming here is to mentor Zimbabwean artists. The first time I came here, I found out that Zimbabwean artistes (fashion designers) have an amazing talent and they can compete globally,” he said.
He said many local designers just needed the opportunity to showcase their work on a global stage.
“So, that is why I came here. I want to give them an opportunity to somehow showcase their work in the places where I do my fashion shows around the world.”
Ablaza urged designers to work hard and continue to produce new work to tap into the international market.
Ablaza arrived in Bulawayo with a team consisting of make-up and hair stylist Pierre-Lyn Arcega and model Medjy Mezilus, who is also a designer with Meme Designs in Haiti.
He said during a recent fashion show in New York, he pitched some works by Bulawayo designers, which attracted a lot of interest.
“Doing a show in New York is not easy, but I am glad that they appreciated what I did. They appreciated the African works — the Zimbabwean designs and they like them very much,” he said, adding that he had something planned with local designer, Inka Malunga.
Two of his gowns were auctioned for US$1 500 while one of his bowties went for US$300 and the proceeds were donated to Santa Comes to Makokoba at Thabiso Centre and Kidzcan Zimbabwe.