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South African fashion designer ready for her international debut

Shamyra Moodley, of Laaniraani showing off one of her designs. Supplied.

Shamyra Moodley, of Laaniraani showing off one of her designs. Supplied.

Published Mar 3, 2022


Durban: A Cape Town mother of two has been selected to showcase her designs at a summit in Abu Dhabi in celebration of International Women's Day next Tuesday.

The African Fashion International (AFI), in partnership with Forbes, will be held from March 6 to 9.

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According to a statement by the AFI, the global event will bring together women from both the 30 under 30, and the 50 over 50 age group.

Shamyra Moodley, 41, is one of the Pan-African fashion designers selected to show off her creations at the event which will mark her international debut.

“I am super grateful for the opportunity to showcase internationally and share my unique South African Indian heritage and story using fashion as a medium,” said Moodley who was raised in East London.

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She said she fell in love with fashion at a young age. Moodley said her mother often told her that she looked great in anything she wore, even if she had to wear a sack.

“I would off-cut hessian, which is an incredibly sustainable material, and some remnant T-shirt yarn and the result was the birth of my art piece skirt," she said.

Moodley said she still had a few pieces she had made when she was 12, which she wore upto today.

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“My matric dress, which I designed, is now officially a vintage piece and two decades later, it still turns heads."

Although fashion was her passion, Moodley did not pursue it at first. Until baby number two showed up, she practised as an accountant with a special interest in global brand strategy and innovation.

“During my extended maternity leave, I was captured by the world of the creative. I decided, in quite an unconsidered manner, to literally break the mould. This is when I started my sustainable style blog called Laani Raani."

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Moodley, now the creative director of her fashion business Laani Ranni, said she had a chance encounter with Suzy Menkes, a British journalist and fashion critic. Menkes was the fashion editor for the International Herald Tribune and editor of Vogue International.

"I was encouraged to make my fashion design dream a reality. Now here I am, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Moodley described her style as eclectic and quirky yet elegant. She said since the beginning of her journey, her work had been featured in a CNN article in 2021, and she had won the AFI Young Designer of the Year award last year.

Moodley, who currently resides in Cape Town, specialises in sustainable fashion.

“To be honest, it’s the only fashion I know. It's ingrained in who I am. People flip houses and well, I have been flipping clothes ever since I can remember. I flip clothes, give them new life and a new chapter so the story can continue.

“In harmony with our environment, we use primarily end of roll or remnant stock that would otherwise be disposed of. These are vintage fabrics and offcuts that reduce environmental impact as much as possible.”

Moodley said she looked forward to educating international audiences about her take on fashion and hoped the summit would further her career.

Moodley is scheduled to travel to Abhu Dhabi on Friday.

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