IT was an explosion of colour last night as delegates to the second International Mohair Summit were treated to a fashion show exhibiting the latest mohair trends by up-and-coming designers from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), their peers who have graduated, and even design students from as far afield as Japan.
The event was part of an evening of entertainment held in a massive marquee set up on a field in Jansenville's Mauritius township.
The R8-million summit kicked off yesterday in Jansenville's town hall and will wrap up on Saturday with a street carnival and a music festival.
Designs by Steytlerville-based mohair product manufacturer Annette Olivier also graced the catwalk, as did those by fellow Eastern Cape designer Adele Cutten.
Former NMMU student Kelly Esterhuyse, who in 2011 won the Elle New Talent award, chose last night to launch her new mohair knitwear range, which she hopes will soon be exported to Europe and the US.
"I've started working with mohair because it's so luxurious," Esterhuyse said last night after the fashion show. "I'm going to use the summit to meet with international buyers and hopefully get my designs exported."
The catwalk also revealed futuristic designs by Japanese students from Nagoya's Mode University, Sayo Takemoto and Kaori Hotta.
The two won a design competition held at their university by Mohair South Africa.
Their designs were inspired by armed monks and ninjas, they said. "We haven't been to Africa or seen anything like this before. It's a very interesting part of the world," Hotta said.
Since arriving late last week, the two have been treated to tours of mohair manufacturing plants as well as Angora goat farms in the Karoo.
"What I found interesting is that you have a modern city like PE, and then just outside you find amazing wildlife and game reserves. It's extremely diverse," Takemoto said.
According to NMMU programme leader for fashion and textile, Harm Grobbelaar, the mohair fashion world was fast gearing towards a younger audience.
"Mohair is a very exclusive market. It's no longer the old, scratchy granny jerseys, but rather a very refined fabric," said Grobbelaar, who put the fashion show together.
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