Social stories: the symbolism of design choices

Commonwealth Fashion Council

Explore the exchange story of designer iZAURA from Botswana and artisans Quazi Design from Swaziland and find out how they created their look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, 2018. 

“I found it very fitting to work with Quazi Design, as we both strongly believe in empowering society, especially women and girls.”
Mothusi Lesolle, iZaura
The Exchange: Botswana x Swaziland
For The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange 2018, designer iZAURA exchanged with artisana Quazi Design to create a look that symbolises principles important to both countries. The look was unveiled at Buckingham Palace on February 19, 2018, and later moved to the Australian High Commission, London, where it was open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.
Botswana: Designer iZAURA
After mentorship from Botswana’s best loved fashion house, Mpho Kuaho, Mothusi Lesolle set up his own brand, iZAURA. Lesolle’s big break came in 2013 when one of his designs appeared on the cover of Lifestyle magazine, and he created a gown for Rosemary Keofitlhetse, who went on to become Miss Botswana. Soon after that he was featured in Macy’s ‘Celebration of World Fashion’ in 2015. Lesolle also uses his fashion label to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate. His program, ‘Donate a Prom Dress’, gives local girls from underprivileged families the opportunity to wear designer clothes to their prom parties.
Swaziland: Artisans Quazi Design
Doron Shaltiel,  the managing director of Quazi, set up her business in 2009. Doron’s plan was always to provide much-needed employment in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland, giving full-time contracts to the artisans who on average have seven dependents. 

Recycling magazines

The big idea behind Quazi Design was found in some discarded magazines. Realising the potential of the brightly printed pages, Doron Shaltiel, the managing director of Quazi, turned the paper into tiny beads to create jewellery.

A growing organisation

From just one artisan, the company now employs several artisans, each of whom specialise in creating miniature works of art out of paper.

The story behind the look
Mothusi Lesolle of Botswana and Doron Shaltiel of Swaziland collaborated on a design that symbolised principles important to both countries.

Illustration of the dress

Symbolic materials

The white linen fabric represents purity, an expectation of young women in Swaziland.

Recycled paper beads

The red recycled paper beads raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.

The black beads signify the power in the culture of the people of Swaziland and pay tribute to the power of women.

Quazi Design accessories completed iZAURA's look.

Final look on display at Buckingham Palace, 19 February 2018

Final look on display at the Australian High Commission, London, 22 February 2018

Credits: Story

This content has been specifically curated for the Google Arts & Culture platform on behalf of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition that launched on the 19th of February at Buckingham Palace in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, with the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

More information about the images is available by clicking on them.
Read more about the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at http://eco-age.com/commonwealth-fashion-exchange/

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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