Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe

PARIS, Mar 6, 2007 / FW/ — Fashion attracts people from different walks of life and latest to join its ranks is Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, a trained medical doctor who until six years ago was Chairman of the South Africa Cancer Association and has a burgeoning medical practice in Johannesburg.

I met Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe last night at The George, the fashionable restaurant on top of the Pompidou Center during a private dinner party she hosted for the press.

Petite, chic and elegant, it was hard to believe that she has three children especially in her very modish size 4. She could easily be on the list of the World’s 10 Best Dressed Women if ever she deemed it very important. But, that was not on Dr. Moloi-Motsepe’s agenda. She entered the fashion world to promote South Africa’s young designers and in turn bring business to her country.

That might sound like a lofty goal for some, but not when you consider that Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe is married to Patrice Motsepe, South African billionaire and entrepreneur who was voted South Africa’s Business Leader of the Year and won the Entrepreneur of the Year award.

“My family created a philanthropic foundation with projects that tackle education, health and the development of young talents in South Africa, in particular art, culture, sports and fashion,” explained Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe when asked how she got involved with fashion.

“South Africa has a very diverse culture. With this diversity comes countless number of combinations, making South Africa unique. Given the proper training and encouragement, young design talents can cull from these. It will be like shooting several birds with one stone.” Dr. Moloi-Motsepe continued.

“We can develop a very viable fashion industry in South Africa, which in turn can bring tourism and business to the country. Corollary to that, we will also be training future leaders of industry and of course, put South Africa on the fashion map,” she concluded.

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe

To do these, Dr. Moloi-Motsepe already has the wheels turning for her very concrete plans. Gavin Rajah, one of South Africa’s leading designers had shown his collections in Paris for the past two couture seasons, albeit on the off-calendar list.

Raising the ante, Dr. Moloi-Motsepe is adding four South African designers to show in Paris for the upcoming Paris Haute Couture Fall 2007 season, namely Thabani Mavundla, Thula Sindi, Fundudzi (with Creative Director – Craig Jacobs), and David Tlale, making it a total of five, with Gavin Rajah topping the list.

Because it is still too early in the year, it is still unknown whether the five designers will be listed on the official calendar or they would choose to show off-calendar.
Tireless and energetic, bringing South African designers to Paris is just one of the many projects that Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe oversees. She is also the Chairman of Leisureworx, the organizers of Capetown Fashion Week, Durban Fashion Week and Johannesburg Fashion Week, each of them holding bi-annual shows in South Africa.

Passionate on bringing her beloved South Africa to the international level when it comes to fashion, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe’s path is not strewn with rose petals.

As other cities like Moscow, Sydney, Sao Paolo, Tokyo and Los Angeles compete for the presence of press and buyers during their respective fashion seasons, not one of them has generated the heat that New York, Milan and Paris do.

In the fashion tradition, New York, London, Milan and Paris are sister cities that host the ‘international fashion season.’ The women’s ready-to-wear season lasts about 5 weeks, the menswear season 2 weeks and the haute couture season 3 days.

Attracting the press and buyers to attend another fashion week in a new city in the already very hectic fashion calendar has always been a challenge for organizers outside the historically accepted 4 cities.

“That is the reason why we are approaching the development of South Africa’s fashion week two prong,” said Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe. “We are bringing South African designers in Paris so that they will get exposure on the international level, and we are also working on making South Africa the ‘fashion capital’ of our region.”

Her self-assurance is undeniable, her determination is like steel, so you start rooting for her, because if anyone could hurdle all those challenges, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe is ‘your man’ or better yet, ‘your woman.’

Photos courtesy of Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe