Tanzania: How Red Ribbon Fashion Gala Marked World Aids Day in Style

Today, December 1, the world commemorates World Aids Day. Across the globe, different activities take place to mark the importance of this day and also recognize efforts being made to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The theme for this year's commemoration is; "Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community". It highlights the role of communities in preventing, treating and supporting people with HIV. "I believe in communities," UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement.

In Tanzania, the fashion community played a role in marking the day by organizing a fashion gala dedicated to supporting the theme of World Aids Day.

Through the annual Tanzania Red Ribbon fashion gala, an event was organized at the Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel, with the theme #FashionFightingAIDS and #Fashion4Disability.

Deputy Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Juliana Shonza was the guest of honour at the night fashion gala. She took part in supporting the cause by pledging government's continued helping hand in different initiatives aimed to alleviate some of the perennial problems facing Tanzanians and the global community, such as the AIDS epidemic.

"I'm pleased to take part in this event as a supporting government figure, the fight against HIV/AIDS must go on and it is through different initiatives such as this, that we will eventually win the battle," she said in front of a wide audience. In her role as Deputy Minister, Shonza also expressed continued support for the fashion industry in Tanzania.

Khadija Mwanamboka, the brains behind the Tanzania Red Ribbon Fashion Gala, an event that has been hosted since 2007, was pleased with the turnout and support she received at this year's event. "I thank everyone who took their time to be here today. I appreciate every cent spent to buy a ticket either for yourself or your friend, all this support shows just how much unity there is in our community," she said.

The fashion night was not short of style and entertainment. A total of 14 fashion designers were lined up to exhibit their designs. From Jamilla Vera Swai, Martin Kadinda with Irada Style, Lucky Creations, to Bijoux Trendy, the list included some of the very best designers in Tanzania's fashion industry.

With red as the overriding theme of the night, almost everyone in attendance was dressed accordingly with pints of red added to their attires.

The models, who strolled down the runway dressed in some of the most unique designs looked every bit stylish as one designer after another showcased what they had prepared for the night.

Iconic names in Tanzania's fashion industry, such as Ally Rehmutallah and Mustafa Hassananli, were there to show support on a night that celebrated fashion in a different way by mixing style and community responsibility.

Under Ujuzi initiative - an association that works with the youth, this year's Red Ribbon Fashion Gala also saw the involvement of different youth initiatives, such as Youth of United Nations Association Tanzania (YUNA), Ndoto Hub, Msichana Initiative and Girl Power.

"Involving such associations, was our gesture of recognizing and appreciating the role played by youth initiatives in bringing positive change to our community. This blends well with the theme of this year, which is bringing change 'community by community'," said Mwanamboka.

The fashion event was a vibrant night which featured the perfect mix of fashion and social affairs. With a backdrop of a noble cause, the 2019 Red Ribbon Fashion Gala managed to show that fashion as an industry, can be used to highlight the different apparel trends in the fashion world, whilst also contributing to the development of the community in different ways.

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