By Harold Kapindu
At a time when fashion is taking over Malawi by storm, here comes Rhoda Kate Mphande simply known as Rhoda, a Malawian born but Australian based entrepreneur, raw artist, designer and dress maker who is making strides in the international fashion world.
Rhoda migrated to Australia with her family in 2003 where her father bought her a sewing machine. She made a few clothes for herself and did some alterations, mostly self- taught and monitored by her mother who is one of her greatest inspirations. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the get-go of RKM! I guess you cannot help asking: what is this RKM?
“RKM abbreviates Rhoda Kate Mphande, a fashion line inspired by prints with a mix of bold colours,” Mphande said.
She added: “Coexisting with koalas and kangaroos in Australia, RKM’s unique outfits started creating a lot of local buzz in the city of Melbourne after being approached and asked to create a few masterpieces for a number of individuals.”
Each step of the designers’ red carpet from being a mini fashion judge to dressing up some contestants for Africa’s got talent Australia and the renowned Melbourne Cup carnival 2014 spring race, RKM has already showcased in a number of big events in Australia, Malawi, South Africa and Ghana.
RKM outfits at the Melbourne Cup Carnival were featured in The Age Australian newspaper, Channel 7, 9, 10 & ABC in Australia.
From the Melbourne’s Music and Cultural festival to the Africa Australia Gala and Independence Day celebrations, one cannot miss the touch of elegance and a personal style with a passion of heritage that openly flirts with the locality of basic cultural as well as international touch.
According to Rhoda, RKM was recently selected and sponsored alongside two other designers to showcase at the Mercedes Benz Africa Fashion Festival which was held in Ghana in May this year (2015).
During their showcase in South Africa competing with 30 other designers, the RKM banner was held higher still by the beautiful Miss Mandy Chibambo, founder and CEO of La Dame Royal based in South Africa. She carried RKM to glorious success all the way to Accra, Ghana.
RKM showcased in the elite event labelled “The world edition”, at the World Trade Centre in Accra, sponsored by Black Secret, Mercedes Benz, Dark & lovely and Rwandair just to mention a few.
Cat walking shoulder to shoulder with global ‘who is who’ in the fashion world: Mary Martin (London), Amakeya (Namibia), Afriblossom (South Africa), Grace Wallace (Togo), Abrante (Ghana), Liiber London (London), Prince Way Designs (Togo), Palse (South Africa) just to mention a few, RKM designs showed their brilliance as they flawlessly made their impact on the global eyes of admirers, VIP guests and design experts, with international and local models delighted to parade in her pieces.
“Being Malawian with a compassionate warm heart and a wise analytical eye to the realities of high levels of unemployment among the youth, RKM has a commitment to create job opportunities in an area seldom ventured by young but often very talented Malawian tailors.
“Conversely, I also opened my business in Blantyre earlier this year within the trade fair grounds but recently started operating the business from a home environment in Chinyonga for a much comfortable setting for the tailors and the customers,” Rhoda explained.
The shop is located off Kenyatta Drive, house number CY39 in Blantyre.