Florentine Mwema Bukasa’s goal was to demonstrate fabric manipulation, introduce other materials as highlights, and play with the Vlisco fabric to create new ways of wearing it. From mixing and matching different prints, puffy sleeves, cut-outs, bows and fabric manipulation. What about a jumpsuit disguised as a two-piece, with boning and a bow tie? For an asymmetrical strapless dress, its diagonals continued right down to the button. And Bukasa completed her narrative with a beaded wedding gown, topped off with flowers in wax print.
Consider the history of Vlisco and how a European product dating back to the 1880s came to be so significant across Africa. When we talk about Vlisco, we see African fashion. When we talk about African fashion, it cannot be without picturing Vlisco. This unique link has been captured in historic photographs by the talented Seydou Keïta. Universally speaking, across all the other traditions and clothing cultures of the world, we acknowledge that true Dutch wax is synonymous with African fashion.
‘D’ELENGE MUASI TELEMA’ is a Lingala saying meaning ‘the young woman standing’. Grace Nlandu Bazeka’s collection expresses the freedom and powers that enable a young woman to fulfil her potential, so that she may co-create a better Congo. The mosaic, the peacock and the colours of the Vlisco fabrics fuelled Bazeka’s inspiration because they all stand for an authentic and extreme sort of freedom. Together, they open up what seems impossible, defies reality and sparks innovation.
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