Proudly African fashion show hopes to get the flattened tourism and hospitality industry back on its feet


Johannesburg – While nearly every industry has been hit by the deadly pandemic, the travel and hospitality industry has been one of the biggest casualties.

The nature of Covid-19, along with the restrictions imposed to curb its spread, have meant that since about March of last year, these companies have had to completely reorganize their operations, while many have remained closed in their entirety for some time. pandemic stage.

The financial implications of this have been dire, especially in a country like South Africa which is rich in natural beauty and an acclaimed tourist destination for travelers from all over the world.

But as the Covid-19 infection rate continues to decline and the country comes under Tier 1 lockdown restrictions, the Bush Whisper Foundation has decided to think outside the box in order to get the industry back on its feet.

The charity hosted its first-ever fashion show last week, which reflected the proudly South African ideals the nation has come to stand for.

But the main intention of the stylish showcase was to help South Africans who had lost their jobs and income due to the global pandemic.

“We knew there was a need to help South Africans directly affected by what happened over the past two years and we wanted to create an environment in which we could help as many people as possible, from the sourcing locally sourced material to work with local seamstresses. , while raising funds for the tourism and hospitality sectors, ”said the foundation’s patron and co-designer of the Talitha Oosthuizen fashion show this week.

“It was out of this need that the idea to run a fashion show, with individually designed items, was born, and this new fashion brand is an exciting direction for the foundation, with many more to come soon.” she declared.

The “Elements of Africa” ​​fashion show was rightly on display at the quaint five-star Nkanga Lodge in Johannesburg, where models paraded in uniquely designed, handmade clothing created from locally sourced shweshwe materials. .

The creators of the Talitha Oosthuizen and Jodie Berry collection. Image provided.

“Myself and Jodie Berry, a student intern who is currently pursuing her Honors BA, began planning and designing the line in May 2021.

“It was hard work and there were many obstacles along the way, from shweshwe material arriving late from east London to custom material delivered with the incorrect designs, but it is part of life and business , and we were just relieved that in the end it all fell into place, ”Oosthuizen said.

She said the event was a success, as they have already managed to raise thousands of Rand through ticket sales and a live auction held at the fashion show.

Profits from the show will be donated to the Urban Ruins Foundation, the Solidarity Tourism Fund and the K9 anti-poaching unit, Greentrax.

Oosthuizen added that as women have been severely affected by the global health crisis, the Bush Whisper Foundation will also employ local seamstresses to help with the workload of this collection.

Besides the vital fundraising aspect of the fashion show, Oosthuizen also took pride in the clothing design, which she said reflects the energy and diversity of the African continent as well as its abundance of flora and fauna.

“The theme of the show was ‘Elements of Africa’ and the clothing line was created based on Earth – Water – Wind – Fire, which are elements of our natural environment.

Striking looks from the Elements of Africa’s Fire range. Image provided.

“Being in the tourism industry, with a big emphasis on bush experiences, it was naturally and ideally part of the bigger picture,” she explained.

While Oosthuizen said the entire collection was a blast, their Fire line, as well as their accessories such as handbags as well as the children’s line received the most positive reviews.

This collection could be the Bush Whisper Foundation’s first fashion show; her boss insists that many more are on the way.

“We see a future for this fashion brand, using the fashion show as a launch for the foundation’s future efforts and we were also able to use the fashion show as an opportunity to showcase a variety of companies and groups from the sector, as they try to survive in an extremely difficult time.

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