Pietermaritzburg - Two Pietermaritzburg fashion designers have generously heeded the plea from a city resident who asked for a garment that would impress U.S. President Barack Obama.
Gay and Lesbian Network programme co-ordinator Pierre Buckley (28) will fly to Washington tomorrow with two exclusive, South African inspired garments loaned to him by local fashionistas Carol Bayes and Priscilla Bhika.
After being awarded the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Buckley appealed for a traditional garment in the hopes of meeting Obama, who, according to Buckley, picks out 50 people to interact with based on their outfits and if they are representive of attendees’ countries.
The Witness last week published Buckley’s appeal, and to his surprise, he received two offers and has opted to take both garments on his trip.
Buckley said Bayes initially contacted him and designed and crafted a coat “from scratch” within just two days, which he will wear to a meeting during his stay.
Soon after, Buckley received a call from Bhika — the principal of the School of Fashion Design in Pietermaritzburg — offering him a suit designed by one of her star pupils, Brunhilda Yobo.
Buckley said he would wear the four-piece garment at a gala dinner he is due to attend.
“I did not think anybody would come forward to help, and that is why I left it for so long and tried to find a garment myself. I was surprised when I got not one, but two calls,” Buckley said.
“I am both anxious and excited for the trip, and it is nice to see that there are still generous people out there.”
Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Bhika said she was “chuffed” that she was able to help.
“He [Buckley] is from our town and we should go out of our way to help people from our town. It would have been a disgrace if he got a garment from somewhere out of the city,” Bhika said.
“We had to alter the suit to fit him and he loved it to bits.”