LaaniRaani’s Fastrack to Sustainability

Sustainable Fashion Brands

Shamyra Moodley: A Rising Star In Sustainable Fashion And How She Is Making Her Mark On The Industry

Shamyra Moodley: A Rising Star In Sustainable Fashion And How She Is Making Her Mark On The Industry

It’s been a year since Shamyra Moodley won the 2021 AFI Fastrack Designer of the Year competition and she’s already making her mark in the fashion industry. Thanks to her interesting take on sustainability, repurposing old clothes and accessories to create entirely new bespoke garments, she’s the breath of fresh air the African fashion industry has been longing for.

She has showcased at the AFI Womenswear Fashion Collective at the inaugural Forbes 30/50 Summit in Abu Dhabi. She has also showcased at Cape Town Menswear Week and also at the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum in Barbados.

The designer was recently awarded for her dedication to sustainability with the Nicholas Coutts Award at the Twyg Mag Sustainable Design awards in November 2022.

As told to Buhle Mbonambi, Shamyra charts her journey in the fashion industry since winning AFI Fastrack Designer of the Year competition in 2021.

Since winning AFI Fastrack, life has been a flurry of “OMG” moments. There’s been a frenetic ticking off of bucket-list items which had never ever before been considered.  CNN filming me in my home was cool. They gave me free rein to be myself.  That kind of freedom is incredibly liberating and has inspired so many others to break free of what society (and the fashion industry) expects you to be. The funniest thing was during the interview, I joked that “I have a collection ready, should Milan, Paris, or London wish to give me a call!” An hour later I get a call that I have been invited to make my intentional debut in Abu Dhabi, together with Forbes and AFI. 

Attending and showcasing at the AFI show during the Forbes 30/50 Summit in Abu Dhabi in March, was magical. It wasa reminder of what is good in the world and the army of women fiercely setting out to make change possible.  To hear their diverse stories and have them receive and relate to mine using the medium of fashion has been exactly what I needed. It was a signal that I am most certainly on the right track.  I have always been guided by my heart and this is the confirmation I needed to keep doing it.  Fashion can often feel fickle, but this was the perfect platform to inject purpose and passion back into fashion. 

Sustainability is a major conversation in the fashion industry. I have managed to make sure that LaaniRaani is a truly sustainable brand that my clientele can trust because sustainability is all I know and it’s what I have always practiced without even knowing the term existed.  Every piece is hand-made, home-made, and unique using vintage and donated fabric.  Every button, every zip, and every bead is taken off an old garment and blended into the next art piece. 

Every scrap off the floor today goes into whatever I will create tomorrow.  I take the time to think of how you will wear every piece, for many years to come, how it will adapt as the season’s change and over the years you and your body evolve.  My clients become family; I get to know them and their journey.  A little piece of me is there with them on their wedding day, when you take the podium to deliver that speech, take the stage to dance, and on the days you want to feel bloody fabulous. I make clever clothes for clever humans with stories and substance. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for length.


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