Seven local designers are among 21 winners of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Fashion Awards 2020.
They are Linrico Humphries, Stephany-Lee Schmidt (Libi), Aina Shigwedha, Hope Gowera, Joel Musasa, Eugenia Benard and Paulton Luciano Witbooi.
The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology.
They recently celebrated the winners via video conferencing.
The awards were announced in partnership with African first ladies, including Namibia's First Lady Monica Geingos.
Musasa said he is excited to be a part of the 'Fashion with a Purpose' community in Africa.
"Thanks to Merck Foundation for involving us in such an important campaign," he noted.
Senator, Rasha Kelej, chief executive officer of the Merck Foundation, celebrated the winners and welcomed them to the new fashion with a purpose community.
"I am impressed with their designs that deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women and say 'No to Infertility Stigma', via sensitising our communities," she said.
During the award ceremony, Kelej advised the winners and young African designers on how their respective designs can be created and executed to open a dialogue and create the culture shift desired.
"My vision is to develop a community of young African Fashion Designers in order to catalyse a movement, that reaches and extends far beyond just fashion, and creates a culture shift and be the voice of the voiceless in their communities."
As part of the awards, the winners were given one-year access to an online educational training called 'Masterclass', which covers the art of designing and many more.
Two new categories for 2021 were announced, namely, 'Make Your Own Mask' and 'More Than a Mother' awards.
In the first category, the foundation strongly invited African designers and students to create and share masks or designs of clothing items that carry a message to show that they care and at the same time make it creative and fun.
In the second category, all African designers are invited to create and share designs to raise awareness about infertility stigma and deliver strong and impactful messages to empower girls and women through education.
Submissions should be made on the Merck Foundation's website on or before the deadline of 30 September 2021 for the first category and 30 October 2021 for the second category.