International award-winning fashion designer, Thembani Mubochwa, the reigning Zimbabwe Models Awards Fashion Designer of the Year will hand over the crown to a new next designer at the 2016 awards ceremony to be held in Harare on December 16.
“One of the listed 18 gifted male and female designers is probably anxiously waiting to fill Thembani’s big shoes, not only in apparel designing, but also in following his footsteps of bringing positive change to society,” said one of the organisers of the awards, Rose Moyo.
It was a well deserved recognition for the immensely talented designer who for close to a decade has flown the country’s flag high in South Africa, dressing some of the country’s social A-listers and earning himself awards at prestigious events such as the Durban July.
Since his inauguration to the throne as king of fashion design, Thembani chose to use his tour of duty to make a significant impact beyond the fashion world and decided to help raise awareness about elephant conservation.
His first move was to design and launch the elephant dress.
“The beautiful work of art on fabric was inspired by the African elephant and created as a platform to raise awareness on issues surrounding elephant conservation,” said Mubochwa, “I believe fashion, like music, has a voice and it is up to the responsible designers to make that voice count and make a difference.”
The designing of the elephant dress saw Thembani being appointed the National Elephant Ambassador by the Zimbabwe government through the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate.
He went on to participate as a delegate at 2016 CITES (The convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) COP 17 ( 17th session of the Conference of the Parties) Convention in Johannesburg where the dress was showcased and was seen by hundreds of international delegates.
On his return to Zimbabwe, he intensified efforts by his Afro Jumbo trust to engage in activities that raise awareness on elephant conservation. And he has big plans for the future.
“In January 2017 the trust will be launching a school’s outreach programme to create awareness and encourage participation by school children in conservation activities,” commented Mubochwa.
He concluded by saying that being recognised as the best designer of the year is not an accomplishment to be taken lightly.
To him it means that the recipient of this accolade has managed to creatively express themselves at a level far higher than their peers and their ability to dictate trends and use their talent for the greater good. – ZimboJam