16 February 2018

Lesotho: Fashion Designer Celebrates Cultural Diversity

Rising local fashion designer and entrepreneur, Palesa Mercedes Recalde says her brand Third Culture Kid (TCK) strives to celebrate cultural diversity and ethnicity.

Having recently launched her collection LETSEMA, which means collaboration, Palesa who is currently based in Los Angeles, USA, told the Weekender that she drew her inspiration from various cultures, places and countries.

"Culture for me is an expression of ourselves as a people; and our dressing defines who we are."

She launched her fashion company in 2017, after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, USA. Through her company, Recalde hopes to bring diversity to the world around her, through her unique ethnic fashion designs.

"The aim is to put more emphasis on cultural diversity and to use traditional fabrics in a modern way, by learning to understand more about various cultures, fabrics and styles. The richness of the cultures that inspired me is what really gets me excited to do what I do," Recalde said.

She said, her company, TCK, represents her lifestyle.

"Having lived in various cities around the world such as Los Angeles, Zambia, Rome; Italy, New York and Lesotho. I have come to appreciate how other people live and dress. By definition, a third culture kid is someone that has lived outside of their parents' culture; and developed adopted one of their own due to all the different cultures they have been exposed to."

Recalde said her work and brand aims to pay homage to the different cultures she has experienced.

"Hopefully, as TCK grows as a brand, I will be able to incorporate more cultures, I will be learning along the way," Recalde said.

She further explained how she experiments with models of various sizes and ages to make her brand feel more inclusive.

"That is why research is vital to my designs. It is important for me to be respectful to the fabrics I work with and not to misrepresent their meaning."

Recalde said there was need for the country to invest more in the further development of the local fashion industry through various initiatives, including exposure to the international market.

Through her company, she aims to bring professional designers to Lesotho to share ideas and experiences, in addition to facilitating partnerships.

"We need to take the development of the industry seriously by becoming professional designers who strive to make a difference, hence the two events I held to launch TCK in Lesotho on Friday 2 February at Alliance Française de Maseru and Friday 9 February at Lancers Gap. I wanted to create more than fashion shows but ensure the working space incorporates the LETSEMA concept (collaboration). It is for that reason we had panellists from various industries to discuss sustainable values and practices in our industries as a way to empower people through Art, in addition to discussing cultural preservation."

Recalde said through collaboration in the Arts sector, artistes can support each other and bring in different art mediums together for collective growth.

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