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Annual fashion extravaganza embodies African spirit

Human strength in the face of adversity was a source of inspiration for one of Port Elizabeth's top designers ahead of the annual SPAR Eastern Cape Jason Kieck Fashion Extravaganza.

Themed "Hope of Africa", Kieck said this year's designs were sure to embody the fighting spirit of African people. And, with the Igazi Foundation the beneficiary for the fourth year running, he said his plan was to take the audience on an emotional trip.

The only dedicated haematological services NGO in the country, the PE-based organisation have grown to be a recognised champion in this field internationally.

"This year we would like to take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster. There will be excitement, anticipation and sadness - because of the link with cancer - but all will end in joy," said Kieck.

Last year's "Elemental" show wowed audiences and the designer said he knew he would be hard-pushed to meet expectations. In no way daunted by the task at hand, he said the show would also be about showcasing local talent.

"The theme is African-inspired, so there will be various forms of African influence throughout the evening, whether it be accenting indigenous flora, bits of tribal influence in some of the ranges or displaying the spirit of Africa - which is togetherness and Ubuntu."

Featuring Kieck's trademark style and elegance, he said the extravaganza would also incorporate traditional geometric shapes, strong colours and tribal designs.

Local songstress Amanda Faku, a contestant on this year's The Voice South Africa, will lend her voice to the occasion to add to the local flavour.

Jeweller Morris Luiters, photographer Ryan Plakonouris, artist Janine Every and popular Cape Town band 3 Tons of Fun will also feature.

"It's all about the fact that what South Africa and Africa have to put out there is as good as on any international stage," said Kieck.

He was appreciative of the relationships that had formed over the years, especially those with the foundation and title sponsors.

"Both have been amazing to work with. It's so wonderful when you work with people who have the same vision and put themselves out there to help in whatever way they can."

SPAR Eastern Cape's sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said they were proud to have been part of the fashion fundraiser for the past five years and assist the Igazi Foundation for four of these.

"In that time, we have witnessed the beauty of a far-fetched dream become reality," he said, referring to the paediatric oncology unit at the Provincial Hospital.

He said the values of entrepreneurship, passion and family were firmly entrenched in SPAR's DNA and spoke to the work done by Kieck and the foundation.

"This year's theme aligns closely with our drive to support local communities in rising to their true potential. On top of this, it is humbling to be able to assist and make the lives of those struggling with this disease just a little bit better."

The fashion extravaganza will take place at the International Convention Centre at The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth on November 11.

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Showing off some of the designs that will form part of the SPAR Eastern Cape Jason Kieck Fashion Extravaganza are, from left, Jason Kieck, Carla Petzer, Adria van der Merwe and SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton. Photo: Full Stop Communications

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