Two young French designers, Isis-Christana Mbango (19) and Freddy Lassey (22), were selected by Casa93, a free fashion school founded in Montreuil by Nadine Gonzalez, to collaborate with the South African designers Khumo Morejele and Zaza Hlethetwa, who had already benefited from an initial training session in 2021.
South Africa, the world's largest exporter of mohair, was an exciting playground for the four trainees during their week-long immersion. As they travelled across the country, they discovered the sector's natural, economic and professional eco-system.
In the Karoo desert, in Graaff-Reinet, the young designers visited a mohair production farm, allowing them to understand the origin and the manufacturing process of the wool and observe outstanding local expertise in weaving techniques. Several days in Cape Town, in the township of Khayelitsha, were then dedicated to meetings with South African professionals on the issues of fashion resilience. The trainees had the opportunity to tell their own stories and to ask the professionals in attendance questions. The discussion with Erica de Greef (co-founder of the African Fashion Research Institute) was one of the highlights.
Two days were devoted to creative work with designers living in Khayelitsha. Under the mentorship of designer Ayanda Hans, the Isis + Khumo pair focused on combining knitting and weaving techniques resulting in the creation of a long green scarf.
Freddy + Zaza's concept was a celebration of women's empowerment. Mentored by self-taught South African designer Asanda Veco, they created a dress with panels representing the 11 official languages of South Africa. The mohair jacket in the shape of a shelter is a tribute to the Captonian women who survived slavery in the 18th century.
In order to complete the creations, Zaza and Khumo came to France, for the first time, to stay a week at Casa93. The result of this collaboration was presented at the prestigious Paris Fashion Week 2022. The mohair outfits created by these four young designers in South Africa were also presented at the Casa93 fashion show at the Palais de Tokyo.
Casa93, a free fashion school, achieved recognition for its work in favour of sustainable fashion and equal opportunities. This international project carried out with the Institut français of South Africa is the first of its kind for the school.
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