Designer Zinzi De Brouwer from Mozambique exchanged with artisans Beautiful Local Hands from Mauritius to create a bespoke The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange - an initiative for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.
Inspired by Maputo’s best-loved architect, Pancho Guedes, who shaped much of the city’s post-modernist buildings, Zinzi has created a dress that represents the juxtaposition of past and present in the urban landscape of the city. The fabric nods towards the Maasai tradition for checks and the grid-like structure of the city, while the ruffles and gathers symbolise the lush vegetation and the warm sunshine dappled through palm leaves. Beautiful Local Hands’ artisans, James Warren (aka Pop) and Dany Couyava, created a necklace and bangles to accessorise the look, made from locally sourced polished coconut sewn onto beige canvas.
The look was displayed at Buckingham Palace and the Australian High Commission, London. Both exhibitions were curated by VOGUE's Editor-at-Large, Hamish Bowles.
The project was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and supported by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.