by Patti De Sante

Runway Images from Eco Fashion Week Australia 2017 in Perth by Harry Leonard Imagery

Malawi; “Warm Heart of Africa”- Maloto; meaning dreams in local Chichewa language

What are the dreams of these modern day fashion warriors?

By warrior, I do not mean an aggressive person. A warrior is genderless, fearless and gentle, a defender of all things that are good for the planet and all of her inhabitants. In this series, I will be introducing you to five warrior fashion spirits who were invited to walk the runway at Eco-Fashion Week Australia, 2017.


Vivetta by Lauretta Designs


“Every new Fashion is a refusal to inherit, a subversion against the oppression of the preceding Fashion.” -Roland Barthes

I make clothes to make everyone feel beautiful! Malawian fabric and Malawian mindset! Proudly Malawian. Proudly African ❤❤

I met Lauretta the first day I flew into Malawi, 2017. She was showcasing her latest collection at an international fashion week. In spite of limited lighting, her pieces were a standout and were met with wide applause.

We meet again in Blantyre, the business centre of Malawi and where I lived for 8 months in 2016. She is the oldest of three and has just finished an accounting degree along with pursuing an active career in design.

An invite to FAME in 2015 jump-started her career. FAME is a unique showcase – a collaborative art project that produces an annual exhibit profiling the original work of fashion designers, outlets and accessories artisans.

Her mom originally taught her to sew but she really feels like she is coming into her own this year at 24. She now teaches people how to sew and has become a female African millennial mentor.

She sees her clothes as an inspirational hub.


“We are rebelling. Fashion is a rebellious movement where we are expressing our creativity. We need to reinvigorate a Malawian made textile industry.”I try to use only Malawian fabric but it is tough when our textile industry has declined due to cheap labour elsewhere.”

She resonates with other revolutionaries. “Right now we have a very wide canvas here in Malawi. Competition is lower. The fewer you are the wider you can test the boundaries.”

She again speaks highly of Lily Alfonso, although not currently mentored by here. She states clearly, “Lily is a door opener.”


And last but not least, me picking up the looks to take to Eco-Fashion Australia Week. We hug and laugh joyously.

My prayer for these five designers. May they be celebrated at Eco-Fashion Week Australia 2017. May this celebration flow in 10 directions to help them realise and resource their own dreams for self and community.

Thank you to Zuhal Kuvan Mills for providing such a generous platform of faith to foster the dreams and healthy economic development of Malawi. Blessings always to her and all the organisers who dreamt this inaugural platform to fruition.


Left - Steve Camron, Center - Orama photography

May all beings everywhere be happy and free.

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Patti De Sante travelled to Perth, Australia, with 21 designs from these five fashion designers to promote their work, to highlight the beauty of Malawi located in southeast Africa and to share the countries current progress in gender equality. Patti both showcased these designers, her first go at a runway show and blogs for the fashion platform. As an ordained zen buddhist chaplain and gender activist living in Malawi, she explores, “How fashion devotion develops the three minds of the Buddha and contributes to community health and happiness.” #bigmind #joyfulmind #kindmind