Zimbabweans in fashion glam in UK

Tafadzwa Zimoyo : Fashion Talk 263

One great fashion icon Alexander McQueen, once said: “It is a new era in fashion as there are no rules. It is all about the individuals and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels and up and coming designers all together”.Fashion is how we express ourselves and a way to show the world who we are. Sometimes when we have changing styles in fashion, many tend to wonder if fashion really defines us.

And today, society is in love with brand names. Whether some observers approve of the styles or not, fashion influences people.

One good thing is that Zimbabweans everywhere they are or go embrace fashion.

Again it was such a prestigious honour to be among some of the most fashion icons, personalities, stylist, designers and model in the world and this happened in London and Birmingham.

So far, Birmingham such a big city as it is, has been pretty warm considering already it is summer season.

Many know London as one of the leading cities in the fashion world and somewhere around half of the specialist fashion design jobs are in the United Kingdom.

In fact, according to statistics around 46 400 people are currently employed in fashion industry. Again many of the leading fashion designers and companies are located in London.

London is also home to large number of internationally renowned designers such as Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood among others. This however, does not stop our Zimbabweans who are making it big in United Kingdom to also have a hand in fashion here.

A number of Zimbabwean-born United Kingdom-based fashionistas and designers all gathered at the Canon Hill Park, venue for the just ended Zimbabwe Fashion Showcase in UK.

Models showcase designs at the UK fashion show

Models showcase designs at the UK fashion show

The first impression last longer and like food, fashion is exciting from the preparations right up to the finishing.

It has been a whirlwind tour filled with workshops, wining and dining, exhibitions as well as sharing notes with the who’s-who in fashion.

And the Press was well represented with most scribes from different parts of the world such as Zimbabwe (courtesy of British Council), South Africa and Ghana among others. The stage setting was amazing, the models, designs, lightning and well-choreographed acts defined the mood of fashion.

From this, our fashion enthusiasts back home can take a leaf. We are not far from the root but we lack co-ordination and support, otherwise some of the fashion shows held locally if supported well can compete with international standards.

The issue of time is also relevant, the red carpet, cocktails and themed shows if followed well can make wonders. With an organised industry, there is no way someone like Donatella Versace can turn down an invitation to grace our shows.

The show saw bubbly model-cum-actress Nyasha Michelle putting up scintillating performance as she sailed well through in her presentation with her sidekick and former ZBC radio personality Kevin Ncube.

The duo was dressed by the designers who showcased at the show.

They showed that hosts are the drivers and should be well taken care of from make up to the script.

Media also plays an important part in fashion and it is also job of organisers to educate and empower the media as they are crucial in the planning and hosting the show.

Fashion bloggers in foreign land are much respected, yet back home it is a different case.

Defining the mood for the just recently held fashion showcase and exhibition can be injustice if credit is not given to the founder of the event Chiedza Dawn Ziyambe, a woman with a vision and passion to take Zimbabwean designs to greater heights.

Besides being away from home for long, she is very much in touch with her roots as seen with how she came up with the theme “Redefinition”.

The show saw five Zimbabwean-born designers showcasing and these were Tapiwa Dingwiza of S. Vingo, Tsitsi Fred of Tsitsi Fred Knitwear, Kuda Matiza of the popular House of Hohwa, Tsitsi Sibanda- Pesnique and Rahima Mohammed of Rahh designs.

Models showcase designs at the UK fashion show

Models showcase designs at the UK fashion show

Guest designer was Angela Plummer, a braid couture.

Proudly Zimbabwean as it was, the textures, colours and fabric used by most designers remind one of how endowed Zimbabwe is when it comes to fashion.

It was obvious we were heading for an amazing week of breathtaking exhibition.

But one of the things that have come out from the show is that appreciation and respect is key in fashion.

Saturday Herald Lifestyle, interviewed Ziyambe who said through fashion Zimbabwe has been redefined.

“Through education, technology and fashion, these Zimbabwean designers have found they are passionate about working with African fabrics telling a story to the whole world. I am so excited that everything went according to plan. It took months of preparation hence we conquered. I love my country and fashion. I am happy how Zimbabweans are embracing the fashion and if taken seriously we will develop a country. It is just like tourism,” she said.

Asked how she views some of the shows back home, she urged designers and hosts to create a relationship.

“To pull a great show you research and do proper planning. Engage captains of industry in each planning. I won’t say much about back home but I salute those who do fashion shows with the limited resources. One day we will be on top,” she said.

However, one designer, Tsisti Fred said she still feels there is more to be done to improve the Zim fashion industry.

“There is need for a clear understanding of what exactly is fashion, what is a collection, processes involved in order for one to come up with a collection. Having studied fashion, I learnt so much that most Zimbabweans in fashion need to understand,” she said.

“I have seen people who just buy a fabric, make a garment and call themselves fashion designers and they can only sell within their circles – that is not the case. A proper fashion designer must do a holistic research first, this include design research, market research, material research etc. After that you then start with processes, for example design development and analysis.”

She said because of lack of knowledge mentioned above, fashion is not considered a profession by many in ethnic minority families.

“My community needs to understand that fashion is a profession just like any other profession. If you really want to prosper in fashion you can make it and this is an individual choice. There is a huge barrier in our fashion industry and I am sure if we all have the same mindset, Zimbabwe has great talent and surely things will improve.”

It has been a great fashion experience in UK. Once again I say don’t do fashion but be fashion. Other things might fade but style is eternal.


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