Malawi's greatest fashion export and award winning designer Lilly Alfonso will this month represent the country at the International Fashion Awards Summer 2019 where she will be honored for her contribution in fashion and beauty.
The two day event is slated from 23 to 24 March at Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel in Cairo, Egypt.
At the event, Alfonso is expected to showcase at least seven pieces of her designs as well as deliver a speech on branding and her collection.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Alfonso described the achievement as evidence that Malawi can create designs worthy being recognized internationally.
"When I was approached by the IFA organizer about this development, I couldn't wait to break the news to the team. I was even happier when some ex-members of my team congratulated me. This showed that it isn't just about my pride or my team's pride.
"This is also pride of Malawi. This achievement should open eyes of the rest of Malawians in different industries not just the fashion industry," she said.
Alfonso admitted being nervous upon receiving the news, but was quick to point out that she is now calm and collected knowing the hard work and investment that led Lilly Alfonso to be recognized.
"I was so nervous because I didn't expect to be given an international fashion award. The first thing that came to mind was what kind of collection should I bring that will represent Lilly Alfonso and Malawi well? What kind of designers will I share with on the runway? This is always my concern whenever it comes to fashion show. It's a feeling that never goes away," she said.
Alfonso added that her focus has always been to position Lilly Alfonso as an international fashion brand.
The Malawi fashion icon further downplayed the spirit of competition and called for a collective effort to build the fashion industry.
"If Lilly Alfonso has managed to achieve it, everyone can also achieve it. My advice to the upcoming designers: to achieve a goal it isn't always about competition but learn and get inspire; Understand why others do what they do.
"Thus, have a vision; find out what makes their designs stand out and use that to discover your own signature; And ask questions to find out how they have made their achievements," she advised.
Named after her, Lilly Alfonso is a fashion and design company that was founded in 2005. With three subsidiary labels namely LA Mann, LA Womann and the newly introduced LA Sport, Lilly Alfonso is a registered trademark specialising in designing and manufacturing both men's and women's outfits.