Seychellois designer presents home-grown branded collection at Africa Fashion Week, London | 23 August 2019
“This is proof that Seychellois designers can go far if we put our hearts and souls into what we believe in”
Earlier this month, a small delegation from Seychelles attended the 2019 Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) – a global platform for African-inspired designers with a vision to make African fashion a high street staple and rival established fashion houses.
This year, Johanna Didon was the only local designer representing Seychelles, to present a collection of apparel which she designed under her fashion clothing brandname ‘Katiti Seychelles’.
Following her return from London, Seychelles NATION has learnt more about our country’s participation in this prestigious event in an interview with Mrs Didon.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in art/ fashion.
Johanna Didon: I’m a teacher by profession. Sewing/fashion design is a pastime which has developed into a business. I studied Art & Design for 3 years and I have a Diploma 2 in Secondary Teaching in Art Education.
Currently I am self-employed; I have a workshop at Providence where I sew different types of clothes for all occasions. I am also the managing director of ‘Katiti Seychelles’ - a clothing brand which was launched in November 2017.
Seychelles NATION: Can you describe your experience and impressions at the AFWL?
Johanna Didon: The AFWL was held in London on August 9 and 10; it was the first time I participated. Last year, I took part in the Accra Fashion Week in Ghana, which was also my first participation on the African Continent.
I was the only designer representing Seychelles at the AFWL, along with two models, Dean Savy and Rania Tamboo from Telly’s Modelling Agency.
It was a great show, an amazing experience beyond expectations. It was indeed a privilege to represent my country, Seychelles. It was definitely a success because I managed to brush shoulders with international designers.
It was a very good experience to meet these international designers, to showcase my work at this level, on the European market.
This is proof that we, the Seychellois designers, can go far if we put our hearts and souls into what we believe in. With better financial support, we could bring Seychelles far (internationally).
Seychelles NATION: Tell us about the clothing line that you presented at AFWL. What inspired your designs?
Johanna Didon: It took me only one week to come up with this collection.
Like Peter Roselie, my mentor, said, “the corporate symbol, the ‘Katiti’ eye, is evident in my collection which is very striking, ‘prêt à porter’ and glamorous.
I don’t really follow fashion trends; I like to be neutral. Whatever my mind tells me will be good to wear, I do it. I design clothes to make people feel elegant, nice, happy and which are comfortable to wear.
The collection is not actually for sale because I have plans to do a fashion show in Seychelles later on, to showcase what ‘Katiti Seychelles’ has to offer.
There was no inspiration as such when doing this collection. It was only when I saw the materials that I used for them in Dubai; I immediately loved them and I said to myself, this will be great fabric to work with and I know it will give value to my work. The material says it all.
Seychelles NATION: How were you chosen to represent Seychelles as a designer at the AFWL? Why did you decide to participate?
Johanna Didon: The invitation came through Telly’s Modelling Agency; the information was posted on WhatsAppDesigners’ Group. Everyone who wanted to go, could have done so.
I personally approached Terry Carolla expressing my interest and he made all the communication with the Agency in London.
I wanted to participate because I felt that it was a very good opportunity for me to expose my work on an international level. I feel that the level/quality of work I am doing meets international standards. I also wanted to showcase to the world what Seychelles has to offer.
Seychelles NATION: Were there any particular challenging times during your preparation for the AFWL?
Johanna Didon: It was difficult to get financial support to help with the expenses for the trip. Even though you’ve been invited, you still have to pay for everything including entrance fee to participate, tickets, accommodation, and so forth.
Seychelles NATION: What are some of your most immediate work plans for the future?
Johanna Didon: The next step for me is to innovate and improve on the quality of my work. For example, I want to make sure I have all the relevant information/details required for clothes tags, like size, types and percentages of materials used, washing and ironing instructions, etc.
Also, I want to purchase a tablet which facilitates designers with their work; it is not at all easy to manage a brand name and for me to do this, I will need a lot of financial help/support.
I take the opportunity to thank all those who in one way or another supported me to make the trip to London.
I would like to thank President Danny Faure, Ministry of Culture (PS Kalebi & staff), Culture Trust Fund Committee members, NAC (CEO Jimmy Savy, Diana & other staff members), ESA (CEO Angelic Appoo & staff), Heritage Foundation (CEO Benjamine Rose & staff), CINEA (CEO Galen Bresson & staff), CINEA board committee (Christine Chetty Payet & other members), Pillay R Group (Ramoo Pillay), Wilson Nancy, Douglas Jewellery, Sodepak (Stephen Banane), Aux Val Riche (Alex), Mrs Valmont, Daisy Romain, Meryl Descombe, Davillia Philoe, and also Terry Carolla as the facilitator.
For further information, contact ‘Katiti Seychelles’:
- Telephone or WhatsApp:2836999
- Follow Facebook and Twitter account pages ‘Katiti Seychelles’
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the AFWL.
Photo & image sources: Johanna Didon