By Ogova Ondego
Published December 9, 2009
Fashion designer Mustafa Hassanali has just showcased his creativity at Oxybleach India International Fashion Week (OIIFW).
The Only designer from Africa at the event that ran December 3-5, 2009 at Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Delhi, this was Hassanali’s first Show in Asia.
According to Hassanali, OIIFW ’09 not only marked “the marriage of international fashion with beauty” but also brought together 11 international designers and one Indian designer on the runway.
He described his 30-piece collection as “a fusion of what is East African”, an “eclectic mix” and “our vibrancy of culture and customs for the cosmopolitan market…from the Swahili coast Khanga to the Maasai land accessories.”
Tanzania’s best known fashion designer, Hassanali describes OIIFW ’09 as “a traveling showcase of beauty, glamour, style, culture, grace, fashion and futuristic technology that is bound to gain India recognition, not only as the gateway to Asia but also as a major destination of international fashion destination.”
Hassanali’s work in India came on the heels of two major events he had just held in Dar Es Salaam: the second Swahili Fashion Week (November 4-6, 2009) at which he promoted the Khanga as the dress of East Africa, and Mustafa Hassanali Cares, his first solo art exhibition (November 23-28, 2009).
The art exhibition, he says, was “inspired by nature, the feel of the morning dew, the warmth of the setting sun, and the chills of the cool weather…the Small things which bring Joy to Our Lives.”
Hassanali says the exhibition was also part of his 10th anniversary celebration since his first crowning outfit designed for Miss Tanzania, Hoyce Temu, in 1999.
“The flamboyance and rich cocktail of colour inspired this collection of art from left-over fabrics and haberdashery, ranging from Khanga Kitenge, Bazein, and Satins,” he said.
Hassanali said his environment-consciousness had made the British Council in Tanzania to select him as ‘a Climate Change Icon’.
“This is from my role in creating an initiative for a better, cleaner and neater future for Tanzanian through art, fashion, and design,” he explains.
Hassanali says he is committed to both promoting the creative sector, especially fashion in Tanzania and the Made in Tanzania’ brand.
The Mustafa Hassanali Cares exhibition, he says, was part of his 10th Anniversary Celebration since his first ‘Crowning Outfit’ designed for Hoyce Temu, Miss Tanzania 1999.
“I believe in the never-say-die attitude and I use my talent and creativity in making a better today and tomorrow for the fashion fraternity along with the various social causes very close to my heart,” he says, adding that he, Mustafa Hassanali, is “a fashionista personified!”
Hassanali says his work with international models like Naomi Campbell, Patricia Oluchi Onweagba and Millen Magese has revolutionised the perception of the fashion scene of Tanzania.
So how does Hassanali’s work differ from that of other fashion designers?
“From corporate wear, traditional costumes, or even a wedding ensemble”, Hassanali says, “I handle each piece with great care and I give the utmost attention to the whole outfit. Each design and outfit is unique; a duplicate is never created.”
Among the events at which Hassanali has shown his work include Naomi Campbell’s Fashion For Relief, Arise Africa Fashion Week 2009, Durban Fashion Week, Cape Town Fashion Week, Vukani Fashion Awards, Miss Ethiopia Beauty Pageant, Mediterranean Fashion Festival, M-Net Face of Africa, Mozambique Fashion Week, Uganda Fashion Week, and Kenya Fashion Week that, he says, have brought him immense experience and exposure.