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BLOOMin for Independent Women

Against the backdrop of Tokyo Fashion Week, the ‘Bloomin for Independent Women’ event took place on 14 October.  Following the inaugural event in March this year, which was held at the Official Residence of the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa, the newly opened Isetan Salone store in Tokyo Midtown, provided the venue.  

The event is an initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in collaboration with the fashion industry and the women ambassadors accredited to Japan. It aims to promote women in the fashion industry in Japan as well as highlight the issue of menstrual pads for girls from developing countries.

Menstruation is one of the most common and uniquely female experiences. Unfortunately, the reality is that around the world millions of girls and women struggle to manage their monthly periods. According to UNICEF, 1 out of 10 African schoolgirls’ skips school or drops out of school entirely due to a lack of menstrual products and poor access to proper sanitation. 




Photo: South African Ambassador Mohau Pheko giving welcoming remarks




This critical unavailability of sanitary products in developing countries is a major barrier to education for girls of school-going age. The inability to effectively manage menstruation contributes to absences of up to 4-5 school days each month, equating to as much as 20% of the academic year intentionally skipped, simply due to menstruation. Eventually many of these girls drop out of school entirely, increasing their likelihood of teen pregnancy health complications and early marriage, and further limiting their future career and economic opportunities.

The evening was an opportunity to link fashion and girls around the world to make a change. Money raised at the event went to Lunapdas organisation that produces Pads4Girls, which provides washable menstrual pads and underwear.




Photo: Ambassadors from Honduras, Tonga, Uganda, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Rwanda, Zambia and Head of Mission from Madagascar.




The theme was red, a colour that represents energy, passion and action. Music, fashion and make-up demonstrations were also part of the evening’s entertainment.




Photo (left) Guests mingled with Suzy Menkes of Conde-Nast, Yuko Ohara of Women’s Empowerment for Fashion and Akiko Shinoda of Japan Fashion Week Organisation. (right) Ntombi Msibi, South African Embassy





The colour red was reflected in the food and pinotage wine from South Africa.

South African Embassy in Tokyo, Japan

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March 2018






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