Gert-Johan Coetzee has made a name for himself dressing glamorous women here and internationally in red-carpet showstoppers, and next week he’s taking it one step further for SA Fashion Week.
In a Fashion Week first, The Bold and the Beautiful star Karla Mosley will take to the runway in a spectacular gown from Coetzee’s Autumn Winter 2018 collection. The actress, who is visiting South Africa on a media tour to celebrate the 30th birthday of the popular soapie, will be bringing along one or two of her favourite children’s books to lay on the runway, in support of the designer’s latest initiative.
“Many South African children have little access to books, and battle to read with understanding,” says Coetzee, who himself struggled with reading at school due to dyslexia. “By teaching a child to read you give them the gift of imagination and you open doors to a world of other possibilities. That is why I have dedicated my new Autumn Winter 2018 collection to the promotion of childhood literacy.
“I invite everyone who will attend my show at SAFW to bring a children’s book and become part of the solution,” he says. A “book laying” on the runway will precede the show, and all the books collected will go to Shine Literacy, a nonprofit organization that focuses on childhood literacy.
Karla Mosley is overjoyed at the chance to make a fashion statement while supporting literacy. “I remember sitting with my mom and Aunt Bertha, who was a librarian, reading Uncle Wiggly, The People Could Fly, Charlotte’s Web, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, and endless Berenstein Bear books as a child. I truly believe those early stories and messages are the foundation of who I am today. Reading gave me a passport into my imagination and to the world, all while sitting on the floor the small apartment of my childhood. I’m so grateful for the books that were given to me at that young age; I still love sitting with my niece and reading with her today! I love the idea of supporting the joys of reading for children “
Mosley, who plays Maya Avant Forrester, is visiting South Africa along with fellow Bold stars Jacob Young (Ridge Forrester) and Heather Marie Tom (Katie Logan).
Coetzee will continue to collect children’s books up until Christmas to benefit Shine Literacy. The organisation provides literacy support to over 4 500 vulnerable children from low-income communities across 66 schools in four provinces of South Africa. It provides storybooks, gives structured English literacy support to children, and empowers parents and caregivers through its family literacy workshops.
Gert-Johan Coetzee’s AW18 collection will show at SA Fashion Week, on the Sandton City Rooftop, at 19h00 on Thursday 26 October. Tickets are available at Computicket. Bring a children’s book and become part of the story.