Tax change prompts Seychellois seamstress to seek international markets
Didon is planning to go international and took a step closer to realising her dream last month as she took part in the Accra Fashion Week. (Accra Fashion Week)
A Seychellois seamstress says she needs to take her clothing brand to international markets in order to survive in the industry, given upcoming changes in the island nation ’s tax code.
Johanna Didon, who has been sewing since she was 12, shared her goal and her major concerns with SNA while making reference to an address made by Seychelles’ president, Danny Faure.
“In his State of the Nation Address, the President announced that there will no longer be any tax on clothes and when this happens, it will hinder the sewing industry here in Seychelles. I plan to go international as I do not feel that I will be able to sell here in Seychelles,” said Didon.
The seamstress added that it would have been “preferable if the tax had been removed on raw materials, where we can give value to things made in Seychelles.”
Didon took a step closer to making her dream of selling her brand internationally last month as she took part in her first overseas fashion week. She took samples of her newly launched brand ‘Katiti’ to the Accra Fashion Week that took place in Ghana from March 29 to April 1.
|Didon (middle) with models wearing 'Katiti' attires at the Fashion week in Ghana. (Accra Fashion Week) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
“The international exposure has come at a right time and I can get people to invest in my brand. The exposure that I have received there will also help me to come out of the shell that I am in right now locally,” said Didon, who previously was a secondary school teacher.
Explaining why she chose the name ‘Katiti’ for her brand, Didon said that the Creole name for the Seychelles Kestrel, an endemic bird to the country, represents both her island state and virtues. “It is a bird that aims high, is precise and always reaches its target. At the same time I am selling Seychelles on an international level,” said Didon.
The trip to Ghana was made possible by Terry Carolla, the founder of Telly’s Modelling Agency. The agency was represented by three Seychellois models - Ruth Bonte, Nahil Accouche, and Anika Monthy.
Carolla told SNA that the process of leaving was faster with Didon as the agency had just helped her to launch her brand in December last year and “she had clothes available, so she could just pack and leave with us.”
“A lot of people talk about Seychelles and it is a highly sought after destination in the world. When we were in Ghana, this was obvious as all the designers wanted their clothes to be worn by a Seychellois model,” said Carolla.
Didon feels proud to have been the first Seychellois to take part in the Accra Fashion week, which creates a platform for African designers to showcase their work.
“I give many thanks to Telly's Modelling Agency as they could have chosen another designer to bring to Accra but I feel that Mr Carolla had belief and trust in my talent and creativity,” said Dodin.
She said that the attires she brought to the fashion week showcased a mixture of styles from the three continents that Seychellois originate from - Europe, Asia and Africa.
Apart from sewing garments for men, women and children, the seamstress also puts together tourist orientated products such as wraparound skirts (pareo) and bags. Under the brand, Didon plans to launch a collection of cushion covers which will feature endemic flora and fauna of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
“It would be a good thing if Seychelles could take such an initiative and launch a fashion week. It will be a great investment for the country as it will bring finance and tourists into the country,” said Didon.
SNA Presents a series of pictures of the Accra Fashion Week in Ghana from March 29 to April 1.
Photo 1: Designer Johanna Didon
Photo 2: Designer Iva Michaels
Photo 3: Designer Romeo Paul
Photo 4: Designer Metys by Diana Gadie
Photo 5: Designer Mish Mega Company
Photo 6: Designer Nackissa
(Accra Fashion Week) Photo License: All Rights Reserved