Diamonds, not marriage, are forever for China’s millennials

Jily Ji was 24 when she got her first diamond ring, a 2.5-carat solitaire given to her by her parents. In the three years since, the executive assistant from Shanghai has amassed a 15-piece diamond collection, including a ring, pendant earrings and necklaces that she bought for herself.

“We don’t have to passively wait to be gifted a diamond by a man,” the unmarried college graduate said. “Diamond jewelry is a natural way to express ourselves. It’s a far better investment than most fashion items as it won’t only gain value, but can also be passed down through the generations.”

Financially independent, college-educated and born in China after 1980, Ms Ji personifies a key consumer group the world’s diamond industry is counting on for growth. So-called millennials now account for 68 per cent of diamond jewelry sales by value in the world’s most-populous country – worth US$6.76 billion last year, according to research by De Beers SA, the world’s biggest diamond producer.

Millennial women – defined by De Beers as those aged from 18 to 34 – spent about US$26 billion on diamond jewelry in 2015 in the world’s four main markets, acquiring more than any other generation, chief executive officer Bruce Cleaver said in a report in September. These 220 million potential diamond consumers are still a decade away from their most affluent life stage, representing a “significant opportunity” for the industry, Mr Cleaver said.

Tapping them could buoy prices from the gems, which dropped 18 per cent last year, the most since 2008.

Diamonds have caught the eye of Chinese consumers only recently because of their exposure to western lifestyles and marketing, said Ms Ji, a business-English graduate, who counts Harry Winston Inc and Tiffany & Co among her favourite diamond jewelers. Her mother, for example, is more likely to purchase jade or gold jewelry, she said.

For Chinese millennials, diamonds are more of a fashionable mark of achievement instead of a symbol of everlasting love, said Joan Xu, Shanghai-based associate planning director at J Walter Thompson, an advertising agency. The trend is changing how companies such as Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd and Shanghai-traded Lao Feng Xiang Co are designing and marketing jewelry in China.

Chow Tai Fook, the market leader in Chinese jewelry with a 5.7 per cent share, bought Boston-based Hearts on Fire Co for US$150 million in 2014, giving it a greater selection of unique, millennial-preferred pieces, including earrings and pendants with multiple small diamonds embedded in precious metals.

“We need to tap into this audience very quickly with designs for millennials that are more practical and fashionable, such as mixing gold with diamond,” Chow Tai Fook executive director Adrian Cheng said in an interview in Hong Kong.

Chow Tai Fook, for whom millennials make up half its clientele, will introduce new lines and products by the end of 2017 and has signed spokespersons including 29-year-old South Korean actor-singer Li Min-ho and rapper G-Dragon, 28, to reach millennial buyers, Mr Cheng said.

That may help the Hong Kong-based retailer, which operates more than 2,000 jewelry and luxury watch outlets, boost sales and profit, which have slumped since mid-2014 as an economic slowdown and crackdown on graft dampened Chinese demand for luxury goods.

Shanghai-based Lao Feng Xiang, which is majority-owned by the Shanghai government with 3,000 stores throughout China and 5.4 per cent of the market, is also working to offer more choice for millennial women, said marketing manager Wang Ensheng.

“This consumer isn’t looking for super expensive jewelry,” Mr Wang said in a telephone interview. “She’s chasing fashion, she changes outfits every day, and wants jewelry to match. What we need to provide for her are pieces that are personalised, unique – but not too expensive, as she’ll possess many, not just one diamond piece.”

The young middle-class are the target for Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd, said its executive director Nancy Wong. Hong-Kong based Luk Fook, which has 1,400 stores in mainland China and a 0.7 per cent market share, will provide manicurists in some of its stores and “handsome” chauffeurs to win over females customers, she said.

Independence is the top trait Chinese millennial women identify with, according to a Female Tribes survey conducted by J Walter Thompson that interviewed 4,300 women across nine countries about a year ago. More than two in five Chinese respondents said financial independence was more important than marriage, and 32 per cent identified success as financial independence.

Pandora A/S, the Denmark-based maker of silver charm bracelets, said it’s intentionally staying away from love-centric marketing. This year, Pandora doubled its number of stores throughout China from 43 to 81.

“You won’t see a couple in our images,” said Isabella Mann, Pandora’s Hong Kong-based vice president of marketing for Asia on the phone. “That has been a premeditated decision. We want our brands to appeal to as many people as possible, and we think it’s dated to show a lovey-dovey couple in a jewelry ad.”

That may be wise. An unfavourable demographic shift leading to fewer weddings has resulted in a “tepid” outlook for Hong Kong-listed jewelry companies, HSBC Global Research analysts Lina Yan, Karen Choi, Erwan Rambourg and Vishal Goel said in an October report. They forecast that wedding rates would fall 1 per cent in each of the next two years because of a decline in the population of millennial women.

Divorce in China has also risen, with more than 3.84 million couples splitting up in 2015, a 5.6 per cent increase from the year before, said China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs in July. The national divorce rate is now 2.8 per 1,000 individuals, up from 0.9 in 2002.

“Companies that are built on the institution of marriage, like diamond companies, will struggle a little bit unless they evolve,” said J Walter Thompson’s Ms Xu. “The idea was that marriage is eternal – like diamonds – but what happens when marriage is not seen as eternal anymore?”

Millennials getting divorced could ultimately be positive for the diamond industry. De Beers’ research from the US found that Americans spend 20 per cent more on the diamond ring bought for their second marriage than their first, said Stephen Lussier, De Beers’ executive vice president for marketing on the phone.

“There’s no reason why second marriages in China should not take the same trend as in the US,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity at a larger market.”Read more at:blue formal dresses | yellow formal dresses

Pom-pom panache


(Photo:cheap formal dresses)If you’ve already started shopping for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, chances are you have stumbled upon one of the most fun trends of the season — the pom-poms. Technically, they have been popular since spring/summer this year).

While pom-poms in the winter are usually associated only with warm woollen caps, this embellishment has now achieved a cult status and can be spotted on clothing and accessories, in varied avatars, which means, there are umpteen ways to flaunt this fad.

Essentially, used to add a pop of colour to your get-up or to give the silhouette of a neutral outfit a better definition, the pom-pom craze coupled with the love for tassels, has got designers churning out interesting and wearable options this season.


For those who follow any of the umpteen fashion related accounts on Instagram, you probably have already seen images of super cute sweatshirts with ice-creams/cherries on them, featuring vivid and fuzzy pom-poms. These are easy to style. You’ve just got to throw on your favourite pair of distressed boyfriend jeans, put on your white sneakers, and you’re good to go.

If you’re looking for something little less casual and more feminine, you could go for a top that has small pom-poms only along the neckline. Remember, you don’t need to pick a top/dress that has colourful pom-poms on them. You could opt for a subtle monotone outfit that features these little add-ons in the same colour as the rest of your clothing.

Up for a D-I-Y project? Got a solid colour bell-sleeved top? You could add pom-pom detailing to it along the elbows. And instead of wearing it with your favourite pair of skinny jeans, team it with a 70s inspired pair of flared denims. Complete the look with a pair of tan/brown wedges and you’re all set to make a style statement.


Scarves are a staple accessory for any outfit this season as nothing spells panache better than a gorgeous scarf swathed around one’s neck, especially if the hem of it features colourful little pom-poms. Since ombré and shibori scarves are a current favourite, ones that additionally come with these colourful bobbles, could spruce up a Western or ethnic outfit. Alternately, a scarf like this could also double up as a sarong on your beach vacation.

If you are not too confident of donning an attire with pom-poms, you could instead carry a clutch minimally festooned with them. Pom-pom hair ties also fall under this category.

Coming to jewellery, dangling pom-pom and tassel earrings have been popular for a while now. Go for dual toned ones to match your outfit/bring in some contrast, as you prefer, or if you’re wearing an all-white/all-black ensemble, you could even go for multi-colour pom-pom earrings.


Considering the popularity of Indo-Western outfits, especially during this time of the year, you could team your cropped denims and button down top with pom-pom embellished juttis. They would go well with a long kurta teamed with a pair of palazzos. Make sure, however, that you don’t overdo the trend. Have pom-poms either accentuate your clothing or your footwear. Kolhapuri chappals that come with this element of quirk are also bound to give your garb an interesting twist. If you opt to wear a dress, shorts, or even culottes, it is recommended you team your clothing with a pair of neutral (preferably tan or beige) gladiator sandals that feature colourful pom-poms and/or tassels.Read more

‘My beauty brand is growing into shades for people of colour’

Drew Barrymore 

(Photo:formal dresses 2016)Actress Drew Barrymore would like to make her Flower Beauty cosmetics line more culturally inclusive by selling it online.

The Blended star announced this week (beg05Dec16) she will begin selling her makeup and fragrance products online, via the brand’s website, and although her wares are still exclusively sold through U.S. retailer Wal-Mart, she is hoping an internet presence will prove expansive.

“As we go into e-commerce next year, with that venue and platform we’ll be able to have even more shades,” Drew told Women’s Wear Daily reporters. “We’re not like Maybelline, Revlon, Cover Girl, L’Oréal (Paris)…they get to have 28 shades and we’re working with eight to 10.”

The actress-turned-entrepreneur’s brand only has shades favouring light skin with pink or yellow undertones and it is really important for her to create product hues for brown and dark skin tones.

“We try to be analytical in the skin tones and foundations, as well as passionate and creative,” she explains. “I’m very aware of the pink (undertones), the yellow…I wish we could do even more.”

However, when it came to the design of her new Shimmer and Shade eye shadow palettes, Barrymore concluded it would be best to run with more neutral shades.

“As I’ve built palettes in the past, I would always try to throw that one colour in… and it’s like people don’t really use the pumpkin,” she mused. “I learned my lesson on pumpkin.”

The same lesson applied with her Life and Sculpt contouring palettes and the Shimmer and Strobe highlighting palettes, with Drew detailing: “I’ve learned the hard way that the (highlighting and contouring) pigments are tough on your skin… you are blending and blending. With shades that are elegant and light, you can always put on more.”Read more at:formal dresses sydney

Annette Bening thrilled to smoke cigarettes again in 20th Century Women

Annette Bening 

(Photo:plus size evening wear)Annette Bening couldn’t wait to pick up her former bad habit and light a cigarette on the set of new movie 20th Century Women.

The 58-year-old actress overcame her smoking addiction several years ago, but she was happy to pick it up again while depicting her nicotine-loving character Dorothea in director Mike Mills’ 1970s period drama.

“For a while (in the past), I was smoking real cigarettes and loving it,” she tells Vulture. “(I was like), ‘Oh my God, I have to smoke in this movie’, but secretly (was) really wanting to.”

However, Bening did not smoke tobacco while filming 20th Century Women – she chose to smoke a herbal substitute instead.

“It doesn’t taste great,” she notes of the roll-ups. “It’s like sitting in front of a fireplace. But it works and it looks right for the movie, and that’s what’s important.”

Annette admits becoming a mum to her four kids, aged 24 and under, gave her the kick she needed to drop cigarettes for good and find healthier ways of coping with stress, such as regular exercise.

“I do yoga, but I also do aerobic stuff – stuff that gets my heart rate up,” she told SFGate while discussing how she has managed to stay in such great shape over the years.

Bening also revealed her desire to drop pregnancy weight motivated her to get in the gym: “If you want to lose weight after you have a baby you have to get your heart rate up.”

“(I exercise) as much for my mental health as for my physical health,” she added. “You have to exercise often. I don’t exercise for long periods of time, but I try to be consistent about it because it gives me energy and makes me feel better.”Read more at:formal dresses



(Photo:formal dresses adelaide)While his roots are in India, his fashion sensibilities were honed in Italy. Rajesh Pratap Singh, the couturist whose fine craftsmanship can be seen from the way he continues to follow the concept of old tailoring even while investing in research and development, learnt how to make his first jacket from the Italians.

“As a school boy, I always looked up to Giorgio Armani, the way he constructed his jackets. They were modern yet classic. Learning jacket making from tailors at Arezzo was such an enriching experience. They basically mix tradition with craftsmanship. They follow the old tailoring concept in which aesthetics comes first and then the material,” said Rajesh.

Describing his collection showcased at Blenders Pride Fashion Tour (BPFT) as a blend of structured tailoring and draping, the designer said, “The collection blends the traditional American university look with the modern Indian outlook. It plays with beautiful contrasts, encompassing the hi-tech with the low-tech, the opaque with the sheer, and the structured with the fluid.”

Using a focussed palette of black, whites, ecru and indigos, he added, “My usage of colour in my work is a bit different. I work in silence rather than chaos.”

Natural indigo handloom cottons with selvedge detailing, chambray denims, textured neoprenes, handwoven ikats with engineered motifs, sheer glass cottons, textured handloom cottons and cotton silks added a layered dimension to his collection.

Asymmetric shapes, biased tunics with selvedge detail, patchworks, trench coats and jackets with handstitching, pleated skirts, blazers paired with wide leg trousers, boatnecks and drum shoulders formed some of the silhouettes on the ramp.

He also has two other collections in the pipeline which will be showcased at the Van Heusen and GQ Fashion Nights. He informed, “I am working on fabrics for my new collection that I will be presenting with a dash of urban space and current issues with a touch of handlooms.”

He further talked about menswear in Indian fashion industry. “Everyone is open to experiments, incorporating traditional elements in their modern style and presenting them with confidence.”

Talking of social changes being reflected on fashion ramps — actress Kareena Kapoor Khan flaunted her baby bump in one of the shows – he smiled, “Fashion designers also express their opinion through their work. Our industry has done such socio-thematic work on fashion earlier as well, and I think it’s a continuation of the same.”

On use of star power for his collection, the designer said it is always good to have a celebrity or star to convey an idea to the people. “But my definition of celebrity is different. They may or may not be Bollywood celebrities. They have to have a personality to convey the theme. The personality matters to me,” he elaborated.

Designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil, who looked dapper in their suits as they walked around posing for photographs, also showcased their collection during the show.Read more at:formal dresses canberra

Rihanna thrilled to receive footwear design award


(Photo:sexy formal dresses)Rihanna has expressed her pride at being honoured with the Shoe of the Year award.

The Work singer received the prestigious accolade at the 30th annual Footwear News Achievement Awards in New York on Tuesday night (29Nov16) for her Fenty Puma Creepers.

She’s the first woman to be honoured with the prize, with previous recipients including rapper Kanye West, for his Yeezy Boost 350 design.

Accordingly, during her acceptance speech Rihanna, 28, made sure to tell the crowd how much the honour means to her.

“Thank you guys, thank you so much – this is such a big deal for me. It means so much, it makes me so proud to be a woman, to be a young woman from Barbados,” she shared, appearing overwhelmed by the prize.

“I wanted this shoe to be a part of the fancy brand, I wanted it to be the first thing that people saw because it was what I was into at the time. I didn’t really expect people to love it the way that I do and the way they support it, it means so much to me and to be receiving this award tonight (is dedicated to) all the Creeper fans and all the kids in the street who inspire me by doing things their own way.”

Another winner on the night was actress-and-singer Zendaya, who took home the Launch of the Year award for her namesake footwear line Daya by Zendaya. Speaking ahead of the prize-giving the 20-year-old star explained that she’s always been “obsessed” with high heels, despite her mother never favouring them.

“She’s 6ft4in and was always self-conscious about wearing heels, but I was obsessed with them,” Zendaya explained. “So I would go to my grandma’s closet and try on her shoes, no matter how big they were, and walk around everywhere.”Read more

Okyeame Kwame works hard to look good – Annica Nsia-Appau

Okyeame Kwame Good 

(Photo:formal dresses canberra)Annica Nsiah-Apau, wife and manager of Ghanaian rapper Okyeame Kwame says she feels honored that her husband was adjudged the Male Fashion Celebrity Icon of the Year at the just ended e.TV Ghana Fashion Awards 2016 because he really works hard to look good.

Okyeame Kwame beat former Black Stars captain, Stephen Appiah and Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD) to emerge winner of the Male Fashion Celebrity Icon category.

According to his wife, though everyone in that category deserved to win, it meant that the organizers and judges of the event appreciated Okyeame Kwame’s unique style of dressing.

Explaining the secret behind her husband’s style of dressing at the event, which took place over the weekend at the Mercedes-Benz Showroom, Silver Star Tower, Annica said “Okyeame Kwame is predominantly Afrocentric and so everything he wears he wants to have the African touch to it.”

“Most of all he is a gentleman who also stands for positivity and so he also dresses according to that,” Okyeame Kwame’s wife stated.

Double Award in November for the Rap Dacta

Annice said Okyeame Kwame, who is known in real life as Kwame Nsiah-Apau, could not pick up the award himself as he was away in the US on business where he was honoured by the Mayor of Cincinnati. The award entailed been given the key to the City of Cincinnati. He will also have an Okyeame Kwame Day celebrated in Cincinnati every year. This year’s Ghana Fashion Awards which was organized by e.TV Ghana –a subsidiary of Global Media Alliance Broadcast Company – saw a display of fashion prowess by both fashion designers, models and patrons of the event. The show, hosted by e. TV Ghana’s Fati Shaibu Ali and Happy FM’s DJ Advicer, had amazing performances from fast rising songstress eShun. Other high profile personalities like Sandra Ankobiah picked up awards at the event.

The winners for this year’s Ghana Fashion Awards are: Emerging Designer – Ato Tetteh, Designer of the Year – Sima Brew, Accessory Designer of the Year (Jewelry) – Joyce Owusu (Purple Trendz), Accessory Designer of the Year (Bags, Sandals) – Mpaboa. The rest are Female Fashion Celebrity Icon of the Year – Sandra Ankobiah, Fashion Photographer of the Year – Duke Tetteh Quarshie, Male Model of the Year – Meek Ghartey, Female Model of the Year – Leana Efia Apenteng.Read more at:plus size formal dresses

All the right cuts

All the right cuts 

(Photo:short formal dresses)Mona

A melange of colours, ruffles and tassels; mix and match is what dominated Karishma Shahani Khan’s Road to Chanderi. A tribute to one of the oldest fabrics and making it functional for the current times was the initial idea that this designer worked on. In Chandigarh on Friday, with three of her looks that she showcased at Amazon India fashion Week recently, she talks about all that comprises her journey.

Economy first

Design, silhouette and texture are the three verticals that Karishma works on. A stickler for economy, you will see bits of discarded cloth back on the garments in the shape of cords, embroidery and tassels, which lend bounce and character to her pieces. If you have seen her works, you will immediately spot her pieces on Sonam Kapoor in Khoobsurat and Alia Bhatt in Badrinath Ki Dulhania.

Winter wonders

If winter-proofing your wardrobe is on your mind, she is the go-to person! “Layers work wonderfully well. And it is time to put together pieces that you wouldn’t do otherwise.” So pick up different pieces, put them together; let a little colour peek out.

Wedding wows

As a rule, women never feel cold dressing up for occasions. And if looking for inspiration to rock a desi function, one or two crop jackets are all this designer wants you to invest in! “Get coloured pieces. Throw it over a dress or a saree and you are sorted.” Hues trending this season — well, typical Indian palette: burgundy, deep reds, purples and gold, which is forever in fashion. Want to try something new – take a call on newer metallics: bronze, copper and silver.

Working woman

Karishma loves to visit Chandigarh — for one, she loves the food here, and taking workshops with INIFD students is what she finds enjoyable apart from her studio. With hubby, Wasim Khan, an interior designer and just-turned-one son in the tow, this trio is a team to reckon with. “Spending time with students is constant learning. Their questions make you see one’s creations in new light.”

Next, this London College of Fashion pass-out is looking for collaborations, “Designer-wear need not be too costly, but reach out to more is what I believe in.” Her spring summer 17 is set with tints of yellows, whites, bright reds and her favourite blues — electric blue this time!Read more at:formal dresses online australia

Nataleah and the Nation: Politics and fashion

Women in politics are constantly being observed. We care about what they say, what they wear, who they’re supporting, where they’re vacationing and why they chose to dedicate their lives to public service. For the wives of politicians, life is especially difficult. Not only must they maintain a flawless personal appearance, but they must also be their partner’s biggest cheerleader. They must be humble, yet confident; demure, not sexy; delicate, yet strong; and intelligent, not cunning.

They must balance upon the fine line of public opinion without faltering.

The First Lady of the United States is in a particularly difficult position. Not only must she abide by the standards of the women who came before her, but she must also set precedent for those to come. Specifically, in regards to fashion, the FLOTUS is automatically an icon. What she wears to a casual tea with the German Prime Minister will be broadcast on the front pages of every tabloid on the planet. If she is flawless, she will be praised. If her stylist had an artistic breakdown, she will be ridiculed.

A color choice can signal benevolence or animosity. Given the right shoes, as Marilyn Monroe once recommended, she rules the world.

However, although it may seem romantic to sway public opinion with a hat selection, it is important to understand what it means to have this kind of power. As the FLOTUS, you are never given a day off. You must be flawless in every capacity—and even if you do achieve perfection, many people will still critique you. Regardless of your entrepreneurial, collegiate, philanthropic or intellectual pursuits, people will remember what you wore, not what you achieved.

Your accomplishments will follow you like a faithful entourage at the Oscars. Your gown will always steal the show, not your multiple degrees from Ivy League institutions.

Take Michelle Obama: a successful wife, mother, lawyer and advocate for social change. She is a highly skilled and accomplished woman. She is well-respected in many circles and was a successful woman long before she tied the knot with the future President of the United States. But what do we care about? What does the fashion industry care about? What she wore. The things that she did as First Lady received praise, but not our full attention. Do we look into the specifics of her health initiatives, or do we care about the purple dress she wore to meet Melania Trump? Do we care about the number of cases she won as a successful attorney? Or do we pay attention to how she decided to wear her hair on a particular Thursday?

And how are we judging the future First Lady, Melania Trump? Do we care about her potential? Do we care about her diplomatic potential as a woman who can speak five languages? No, we care that she once posed nude for a magazine. We care that she was a former model. We care that she wore a “pussy bow” after her husband’s comments about sexual assault. We care that she is tall, thin and attractive. We care more about her fashion sense than her business acumen.

The incredibly successful women who stand with their husbands are critiqued like posh accessories at a Christie’s auction.

So what should change? We need to rethink what it means to be a woman in politics. It should not mean that the FLOTUS’s primary duty is to dress well or be physically fit. She should be able to wear what she thinks best suits her without the world providing a plethora of inputs. She should be able to come in any shape or size. We should not judge male politicians on the attractiveness of their wives. She should be acknowledged for her intellectual accomplishments as a man would. She should not be called a bitch if she doesn’t smile, a whore if her hemline is a quarter-inch too short or a prude if she chooses to be simple and conservative.

The glass ceiling remains. Look how they treated Hillary Clinton, look how they treat Michelle Obama, look how they are beginning to treat Melania Trump. Yes, there are many differences between men and women. But a woman’s place is in the House, Senate and White House. She should not have to make her way to the top by flashing a smile, effortlessly accessorizing or sweating away 3000 calories at the gym. She should get there because she is capable and persistent. If a poor suit decision can’t ruin a man’s career, then a fashion statement shouldn’t ruin a woman’s.Read more at:bridesmaid dresses | short formal dresses

Julia Franco on her social enterprise, The Wearable Library


(Photo:one shoulder formal dresses)Originally from Brazil, Julia Franco moved to Durban four years ago. With a qualification in fashion and marketing, she decided to use her knowledge and expertise to empower the community in the city.

Upon her arrival, Franco (32) started looking into how she could pursue her love of fashion – while uplifting the community.

She says she fell in love with shweshwe, and decided to intertwine her love for the people and the city with this popular fabric.

Franco then set out to find businesses that could make shweshwe clothing, but she struggled to find places that provided high-quality fabric as well as the service.

She then decided to teach elderly and migrant women in Durban to sew so they could earn an income. What makes the initiative special is that each garment conveys the story of the woman who made it, connecting the buyer to the maker.

“The Wearable Library aims to create employment for women, train them and also get a professionally finished product,” Franco says. “On the tag of each fashion item, is the story of the woman who made it.

“We want the person who buys the garment to know the woman behind it, their background, age, why they made it and so on.”

She’s always been passionate about community upliftment and the role that fashion can play in society. “I wanted to change people’s perception of fashion to something positive; fashion can be beautiful and inspiring – we should use that inspiration to change the whole system,” she says.

Franco says that it’s of paramount importance that the story of the women who make the clothing is shared. She says there are many entrepreneurs and workshops that exploit and abuse people’s skills. Franco wants the seamstress to be known because it encourages fair trade.

The women are not only equipped with skills but are also paid more than the average wage, although it does depend on the garment.

Once the women have been trained and are equipped with the necessary skills, they aren’t expected to stay with The Wearable Library – rather, the initiative encourages and supports entrepreneurship.

The entrepreneur says she used her savings to start the business and that it’s now maintaining itself.

Items are sold on the business’ online store, and have even been bought from customers in countries such as Brazil, Spain and America.

She says it warms her heart to better the lives of less fortunate people and enable them to provide for their families. Another highlight has been how well received the initiative has been in Brazil – so much so, it received an award at Brazil Design Week.

Getting people to understand and buy into the concept has proved to be a challenge for Franco. She adds that the cultural significance of shweshwe was also something she had to come to understand. “When we started buying shweshwe, people didn’t like that we were using it for daily and not ceremonial purposes. We then decided to use the fabric in a modern way and not interfere with the cultural designs.”

Franco says that starting this social enterprise has taught her that when people come together and work as a community, things are more likely to succeed.Read more at:mermaid formal dresses