On Friday the 12th of July I attended the Estelle Mantel Clothing fashion show for their new line Flamme at Chit Chat Cafe. I was fairly excited because it was something new and refreshing to go to in a city that is mostly about the same old clubs and parties. I also went to go support a friend of mine who was modeling in the show…when I say support maybe I mean terrorize and film for future blackmail purposes. On the flyer it said the show would start at 7:30 but as Zambians live for “African time” I wasn’t at all worried when I arrived at 7:30 on the dot and there were 5 people at the venue. But soon enough people started flocking in; there were bloggers, photographers, radio personalities and magazine writers in attendance and it looked set to be a fabulous night.
If I have to be honest I was less than impressed by the clothes featured on the runway, there were 3 pieces from the women’s range that I would consider buying. The men’s range was a little confusing for me as it was a few trousers and shorts The clothes didn’t really fit the models they needed to be taken in and the hemming wasn’t finished. As someone who enjoys fashion but also understands the importance of making a polished product I was disappointed. The music selection was more club or radio playlist with very little thought given to the way the music should compliment the collection. The other problem I had was that the volume of the music was low when the models walked the runway and then louder when nobody was on the runway!!!!????
The sheer skirts had no lining and most of us aren’t going to just put underwear on under there and walk out the house. We also have to remember we live in Zambia where women who don’t dress somewhat conservatively are looked down upon. That said, I did love the colors and the prints and the overall idea behind the line, I think given more time and preparation they could have had a fabulous show that showcased a more polished look. I know for a fact that the Estelle Mantel brand have showcased some superior work in the past. This might just be a case of trying to extend the brand too soon, maybe next time they will get it right.
My questions to you are; 1. Is there room in Zambia for non-Ready To Wear clothing? 2.How bold can designers be with their designs if they expect to have their product bought? 3.What can young local designers do to match the standards set by our neighbors in Angola, Mozambique and South Africa?
Photo credit: Nambeye J Katebe from Best of Zambia.