It doesn’t take much to turn fabric into something to cover the body – that is, something which stands between you dressed and naked. However, it takes a visionary mind, inspired hands and an astute eye to take a span of interwoven fibres and turn it into wearable art. Aobakwe Molosiwa, 28, is a fashion designer from Botswana, based in the capital city, Gaborone, who has set himself apart from many couturiers through his distinct approach to crafting clothing.
Molosiwa’s brand, Gilded Sands, was named while he was studying fashion in Durban, South Africa, and has come to be realised in his homeland. Looking at one of Molosiwa’s creations, you understand the depth of the brand’s slogan, ‘when time stands still’, as his signature flowing, ethereal aesthetic demands that you surrender yourself to being in the moment, forgetting all else. It is this captivating nature of his work that has earned this young fashion creative and his brand many accolades in the fairly short period of operation time.
Molosiwa burst onto the scene in Botswana by winning the Young Designer award at the 2011 Colour of the Desert Fashion Show – hosted in Gaborone – which resulted in him showcasing in Tanzania at Swahili Fashion Week. He was later honoured on the ‘St Louis Top 40 Under 40’ list of movers and shakers in Botswana, and featured on the cover of Lapologa Magazine as his scope of influence grew to what is now the foundations of the building of a remarkable legacy. He managed to transfer his skills from creating looks for the runway to being one of the most in demand designers for a wide range of clientele – from bridal parties to theatre costuming, and made to order garments for media personalities.
Molosiwa has also been fortunate to receive support from the Government of Botswana which has noted the impact he has on the growth of the fashion industry in Botswana – his garments have represented the country in Asia and on the African continent. Most recently, he was a member of a three designer tour de force which showcased at one of Africa’s most revered fashion events, Africa Fashion International (AFI) Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2018. A self driven creator, he makes magic with his assistant in a small studio in a cottage. The intimacy of the creative process – from conception to realisation – is often one filled with multitudes of emotions from nervous to excited to flabbergasted; proving that it’s not how much space you have to fulfil a dream but the scope of the dream which should inspire you to be your best self.
While one is always advised to err on the side of modesty, I dare say that Aobakwe Molosiwa has proven to many of his contemporaries and people of previous generations that fashion design can in fact be a way of expressing oneself and empowering others to be the most radiant versions of themselves they can be. It takes a wizard to turn a piece of cloth into a magical item of clothing. It takes a dreamer to make fantasies come alive. It takes a visionary to face obstacles with a bold face and pocketful of hope. Aobakwe Molosiwa is making strides for himself and for Botswana, and all the while, building a legacy.Guest Contributor: Katlego K Kol-Kes