He is one of the buzzing fashion entrepreneurs in the country at the moment. At just 25, the effervescent Aobakwe Molosiwa of Gilded Sands Creations is living his dreams. Molosiwa was enrolled as a pre-medicine student at the University of Botswana (UB) before his love for fashion won him over. He dumped school to follow his heart. When he speaks he commands attention, with impeccable fluency in his speech. His liveliness is also one thing that makes people go crazy whenever he graces the runway. His love for fashion goes way back; he used to record pageants using the then VCR with the gowns mostly fascinating him. “That fairy tale is the one that got me into fashion, to make those dreamy dresses,” he says. From when he was about 10 years old, he would make skirts out of torn umbrellas.
Being a boy child, he admits it was a little bit traumatic for his parents to see him doing all those things (fashion design), but they ended up taking it with grace and did not put restrictions as to what they expect out of a boy child. Pursuing medicine made sense to his parents since he was getting good grades. “It was a bit of a struggle there, to convince them out of the academics in order to do something that is passion driven,” he said. A good friend of his, also a young successful designer Botho Chalegwa of Botocy Creations saw all this happening when she was already studying in Durban at a fashion college. Chalegwa’s university came to Botswana during a tertiary fair and all they needed was basic English and not any background in arts whatsoever, and Molosiwa was admitted right there. He then had a heated argument with his parents for about a month as they discussed his future, but her mom finally gave in. He de-registered for pre-medicine and went on to do Fashion.
Even though he had a lot to learn since he did not have any art background, the passion that he had drove him and he fell in love with the school and whatever that was going on. He got the opportunity to prove himself to his parents and those that doubted his career choice when he was doing third year. His brother was getting married and he asked his mom if he could design the gown for his sister-in-law. Even though everyone was hesitant in the beginning they did let him do that, and upon its completion everyone was very happy. “That was when my parents saw what potential there is for me in fashion,” he said. After he graduated he came back home, and the Colour of the Dessert Fashion show caught his eye and that inspired him to work hard to be part of it.
It was rough after graduating for a few months. His first runway show was with Koketso Chiepe in the Gaborone Fashion Week in 2012, which was his first collection in the real world.
He referred to that as the signature orientated collection because it was the philosophy of what he wanted out of his brand. Two weeks later there was the Colour of the Dessert show, and he took part in the young designers section where only four outfits were needed. He won the young designers challenge and he went to Swahili Fashion Week in Tanzania now as a professional designer not as a young designer. “It was one of the abstract collections I have made and I saw growth in my creativity,” he said. He had to find something that was his signature, but he realised that regal, classy and sophisticated fashion is what he loved. He referred to 2013 as a crazy year for him as Batswana got to really know who he was – his client base shot up considerably. Since then things have gone very well for him. He said in Botswana people do not take fashion shows as a business tool but more of entertainment because elsewhere at international shows buyers come from different retailers who would want to have pieces of their clothing in their stores. He bought his machines through the Youth Grant from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture.
He did not blame the ignorance of fashion by Batswana on anyone, but said designers should make people understand their industry. “Designers should get out of their comfort zones and aspire to write the history books of fashion in Botswana,” he said. The Miss Botswana 2015 pageant showed that Molosiwa was a cut above the rest when contestants stunned the audience with a swimwear that was locally designed for the first time. The fashion darling has playing Clarinet as his other vocation and has been playing it since junior high school. He still loves science as it always broadens his intellectual capability.