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Fri Dec 19 05:56:00 SAST 2014

All eyes on Africa in Rome

Jackie May | 12 November, 2012 00:48
Precious Moloi-Motsepe

A group of South Africans, including Precious Moloi-Motsepe and Hanneli Rupert, today head to Rome for the 12th annual International Herald Tribune Luxury Conference. It starts on Thursday.

The group will contribute to discussions between fashion designers and business and creative leaders in the global luxury goods industry. Bono and his designer wife, Ali Hewson, Lauren Bush, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Manolo Blahnik and Donatella Versace will be among the 500 delegates.

Curated by fashion reporter Suzy Menkes, the topic of the conference is "The Promise of Africa, the Power of the Mediterranean".

Moloi-Motsepe, executive chairman of African Fashion International, said that attending the two-day conference was an opportunity to present an African design aesthetic and show its relevance .

"Africa has begun to be recognised as a unique centre of fashion, design and craft with a definitive identity. It's an identity that has never really been allowed to show its full potential," she said.

"Whereas Africa has been a source of inspiration and has been seen as different and interesting, it is now seen as a producer of beautiful art work, fashion, and luxury goods, as well as being a possible consumer of high fashion and luxury goods."

Silvana Bottega, CEO of the Southern Africa Luxury Association, said Rupert, the founder of local luxury brand Okapi, and Moloi-Motsepe, were selected for championing luxury and the projection of exceptional quality fashion in Africa.

Thula Sindi, winner of this year's SA Tourism's designer of the year award, said he was "hoping to get an even better understanding of the global luxury market".

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