Pretoria - Ethnic traditional wedding gowns and western-style wedding attires were on show at the Umshado The Wedding expo fashion show at Sunnypark Shopping Centre in Pretoria at the weekend.
It was a show of diversity and a rich cultural and traditional background, not only of South Africa, but Africa as a whole.
Eight designers showcased their work on the ramp, among them Madira Matjeke from Mamelodi, who said her work was inspired by her love for all things traditional.
“I go all out when designing traditional wear, my ancestors speak to me and show me what to design,” she said.
“Most of my garments are of the Sepedi tradition but I do design other tribes’ traditional garments as well.
“Just that when I’m doing Sepedi, that’s where I feel the intense sense of creativity.”
Matjeke said she went all out to modernise her traditional outfits taking up to two days to stitch a garment but longer when beading.
“I am happy to be part of this fashion show because you might find that you are a great designer that creates beautiful wear but no one knows you.
“The fashion show is giving us exposure to people that do not know some of us.
“Despite having social media and being known there, I don’t think they are the only ones that should know me.
“Today it’s a different audience and there are potential customers who from now will know that there is a Mopedi brand out there.”
Matjeke said the fashion show also gave aspiring models the much-needed exposure.
Much similar to Matjeke, Dorcas said she got her inspiration from God.
“I get inspiration through dreams and I wake up and start sketching.”
Saying it felt good to be part of the fashion show, she said: “This is where you have to show your creations off, it is great exposure.”
She also said it was very hectic behind the scenes, and as a designer one had to check if everything was in order, right down to the last detail.
Slindiwe T Chikosha, dressed by Matjeke, said it was a great experience walking on the ramp and she would do it again if given the opportunity.
Mejon Barnard said she felt like a bride on the runway, and described the experience as breathtaking.
She too was dressed by Matjeke, her wedding gown was a modernised Sepedi dress and had a long pink veil.
Tshimuanga showcased three of her best dresses, with two dresses having traditional print from other countries in Africa.
Aggripa Zwane from Mamelodi presented the show stopper dress that was given away to one lucky bride.
“The dress was inspired by the theme of the Great Gatsby. It originates from a book that was written in the 1920s, that signifies intimate details about love and romance – the highlights of the prestigious class of the 1920s.
“It has fusion of crystals and pearls. The trumpet fill at the bottom is made in a way that it structures itself,” said Zwane.
One of the highlights of Saturday’s show was 5-year-old model, Khanyiswa Toli, who was dressed by Carine. Khanyiswa wore a red dress with gold designs, presented as a perfect dress for flower girls.