Designer gives Goodwood festival a touch of Africa with symbolic silks

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One of the most exciting and glamorous days on the horse racing calendar, is now only a day away. The Qatar Goodwood Festival’s Ladies Day has for a number of years now distinguished itself as one of the UK’s best annual fashion moments combining sporting excellence with charitable causes.

This year’s Goodwood Festival’s Ladies Day will see a selection of talented amateur riders competing for the annual Magnolia Cup on Thursday 28 July. With jockeys wearing bespoke silks created by renowned fashion designers, this year’s Magnolia Cup is expected to raise over £1million with part of the proceeds donated to World Vision UK.

One of the silk designers is prolific Zimbabwe-born British artist and World Vision ambassador, Unique Sibanda.

She said: “I am humbled to be working with the Goodwood Estate on this exciting festival which has very noble charitable causes as well. This year’s Magnolia Cup will help fund World Vision’s Girls Education Challenge project – a programme that is supporting thousands of vulnerable girls and five hundred schools in impoverished communities of Zimbabwe.

“My design gives a nod to the Zimbabwean national flower, the flame lily, which is endangered and protected under botanical laws. It has a “touch of Africa” and represents the very girls World Vision is helping support and we are hoping we can change a few more lives for the better,” explained Unique whose fashion label trades under the title LeKhaya.

Wearing Unique’s eye-catching silk will be Alexis Green, a British Broadcasting Corporation BBC broadcast journalist and presenter, best known for her work as a weather presenter on the regional news programme BBC South Today.

In the past some of the Magnolia Cup silks designers have included the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Frost French and Beulah.

While there much pomp and fanfare is expected for Magnolia Cup, World Vision is hoping that its pioneering partnership with the Goodwood Estate will help support and transform the lives of close to 50, 000 vulnerable girls in Zimbabwe.

Saramine Mukute, World Vision UK spokesperson said: “Currently, 30% of Zimbabwean children are unable to complete their primary education and only half move on to secondary education, with girls from poor, rural households being among the hardest hit. When economic situations worsen, families have to reassess how they allocate their financial resources and although primary education is free, there are associated expenses such as uniforms and stationery that need to be paid for.

“In some areas, children walk 12 miles every day to get to school and back. Arriving late, tired and hungry, these children get poorer grades and are more likely to drop out. On top of that, a large number of girls are abused on their way to or from school. So we’re looking to distribute over 22,000 bikes to the children who are in need of them the most across Zimbabwe,” she added.