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Can upcoming designers have hope? Designers showcase at Portugal Fashion

Great ideas begin with dreams that can change the lives of many people and change the course of our society's future. What if these dreams are buried, never to be realized or even considered again? Without hope, the future may be meaningless.

Fashion, an emerging industry in Malawi and Africa, appears promising, with many aspirants aspiring to become fashion designers, stylists, and so on. Recently, we have seen the emergence of young fashion designers with nothing but a dream and passion to make a name for themselves on the local fashion scene, and potentially the global fashion scene. However, breaking into the global scene appears bleak and far-fetched to many because there are no enabling avenues to get these designers there. What if there was a way to prevent these designers' dreams from being crushed too soon?

The 100 Year Plan

The 100-year plan is the brainchild of renowned fashion designer Lilly Alfonso, whose mission is to foster a supportive environment for emerging and aspiring fashion designers. Lilly Alfonso strives to create an environment in which these talented designers' dreams are realized, nurtured, and embraced.

Portugal Fashion

Portugal Fashion is one of the country's most important fashion events. The 51st Edition of Portugal Fashion took place in Porto from the 11th to the 15th of October 2022. The 5-day event was jam-packed with fashion shows, presentations, fashion competitions, and the creativity of African international designers.

Lilly Alfonso is one of ten African Fashion designers chosen after a rigorous vetting and selection process as part of CANEX presents Africa @ Portugal Fashion, a project sponsored by Afreximbank with the goal of bringing African designers to Portugal Fashion.

The 100 Year Plan Collection at Portugal Fashion SS23

On the second day of the event, Lilly Alfonso presented her luxurious collection dubbed "The 100 Year Plan collection".  The pieces were infused with African luxury and western inspiration. Through the use of prints, fabric, and music, she expressed her African identity and heritage. Her work exudes elegance, richness, and vibrancy. The elegant ensembles were topped with straw hats and paired with earth-toned dresses and outfits. simply to transport us back to Africa. 

If you look at the collection being paraded by professional models, you'd think it was all Lilly Alfonso. Under the 100 Year Plan initiative, four designers' pieces were incorporated into the 100 Year Plan collection. The collaboration between these designers and Lilly Alfonso resulted in an exquisite show that moved some people to tears while they admired the pieces on display. The collection portrayed strength and power through unity and support.

Runway Gallery

Photos Credit: Estorias & Nelson Garcia Photographer

Watch the runway video below:

The 100 Year Plan Designers


Xandria is the driving force behind All Shades of Beautiful, an initiative that promotes inclusion and diversity, thereby improving people's perspectives on one another and creating more opportunities for those who are marginalized. Xandria is a powerful and widely recognized brand founded on passion and philanthropy, and it is one of the leading fashion brands in Malawi and Africa. Xandria fashion house contributes to society and the environment through various initiatives such as Sustainable Fashion, All Shades of Beautiful, and All Shades of Pink - a breast cancer campaign.

Xandria's pieces at Portugal Fashion SS23

Photos Credit: Estorias & Nelson Garcia Photographer


Joshua Munkhondya

He is a product of the 100 Year Plan and works as an assistant designer at Lilly Alfonso. He majored in Fashion Designing as a mentorship program student for about five years. Joshua is a 23-year-old artist and fashion designer who was born and raised in Malawi, Africa. In the world of creatives, he is a creative, visionary, self-determined, young, and passionate individual. "In ten years, I hope to have a well-established international fashion brand that will contribute to Africa's economy, knowledge, and creative industry, as well as the rest of the world," says the creative designer.

Joshua's pieces at Portugal Fashion SS23

Photos Credit: Estorias & Nelson Garcia Photographer


Mirriam Munthali

Mirriam was the first runner-up in the second edition of All Shades of Beautiful, which took place in September in Blantyre. Her dream of having her designs featured on the international stage came true when her design was featured alongside Lilly Alfonso's collection in Portugal. Mirriam Munthali was born in Mzimba, Malawi. In 1994, she received her design certificate from Kamuzu Vocational Training Centre. She is currently employed by MACOHA. Her goal is to learn more about new designs and to encourage her fellow disabled people to learn more from her so that they can rely on themselves. Her 5-year goal is to see her designs making waves on the international stage with the sole purpose of demonstrating that disability is not synonymous with inability.

Mirriam's pieces at Portugal Fashion SS23

Photos Credit: Estorias & Nelson Garcia Photographer


Upile Chirwa

Upile placed fifth in the second edition of All Shades of Beautiful, which took place in September in Blantyre. She was chosen for her determination and love of fashion. Upile Chirwa, 22, is a fashion designer who works under the name Upie Designs. Upile is headquartered in Mzuzu, Malawi. Her talent has gained national recognition in the last two years. Upile has always been a firm believer that disability is not inability, and she still stands as proof of her motto today. Despite her physical limitations, she never doubted that she was destined for the fashion industry, and she is now thriving in it.

Upie's pieces at Portugal Fashion SS23

Photos Credit: Estorias & Nelson Garcia Photographer

The 100 Year plan Designers' Future

What is these designers' potential? One might inquire.

It is clear that all of these designers have specific goals that they hope to achieve in the near future. In the fashion industry, they have expectations, ambitions, and aspirations. The 100 Year Plan initiative has opened up a world of possibilities, fueling their desire and passion to pursue their dreams.

We can certainly expect them to be celebrated and given their due in the global fashion space.

Links to more articles on Portugal Fashion

Portugal Fashion Fills Porto streets with trends Spring/Summer 2023

Portugal Fashion Fills Porto streets with trends Spring/Summer 2023

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