This February, I had the great honour of being invited to speak at and participate in the fashion mashup series organized by British Council, Creative Nestlings and Moto Republik, Zimbabwe. Seeing as this is my 3rd year blogging, I already knew Zim had some great designers and a growing industry but my actual experience there blew my mind! From meeting urban street style bloggers to luxury designers and knowledgeable craftsmen, I have no doubt that the world will be hearing more and more about #zimfashion in the next few years.
Here are a few highlights of my visit:
The opportunity to connect with my fellow speakers Leah Misika and Gloria Wavamunno, and our panel moderator Gilmore Moyo. They have taken fashion in their respective countries (Namibia, Uganda and Zimbabwe) to so many new levels.
Meeting Harare’s various designers and exploring their studios and stores
One Zim creative that really made an impression on me is Danayi. She owns a clothing line called Haus of Stone and runs a popular retail store called Isu Collections. Isu is a bright and contemporary African concept store that houses all the best locally made designs. What I love about the store is that its brand and essence is clear – It’s about being uplifted and funky and quirky all at the same time! But unlike the brands at Isu Collections, her own fashion line is one that is more subtle and dreamy. And because of this, her own line isn’t available at Isu Collections. This is a woman who understands branding. Also, what better way to capture Harare’s fashion heart by offering two different types of products to make sure you’re reaching a wider audience? Smart move! Learn to diversify your business.
Another highlight of the visit was Rungano Rwedu. An accessory shop with beautiful and unique accessories.
From local, to American, to Asian, the city of Harare also has great food to offer.
What’s a fashion conversation without speaking of thrifting? I experienced a whole world of thrifting in Zimbabwe through the eyes of Chiedza Mahere (@diaryofsmurfdinkie), the Zim style blogger who has become popular for sprucing up the streets of Harare with her eclectic mix of thrifted and designer pieces. She took us to the fashion Mecca of Mbare, where there were several genuine designer pieces that were sold for next to nothing.
There was also an amazing encounter with Gogo – an expert in the Zimbabwean technique of crocheting, and Shamiso Ruzvidzo, a tailor and former model. They both spoke about the history and quality of Zimbabwean crocheting and cotton. It was very enlightening. Did you know that Zimbabwe has its own cotton fields and is making moves to revamp its production?
This great meeting of fashion minds could not have happened without Moto Republik, British Council, Creative Nestlings and all the Zim creatives and business owners. From my experience, Zimbabwe is a hidden gem so all I can say is, world you better watch out!
Muses in image header are (left to right) Samantha Sigauke (Designer of brand Thabile) and Chenesai (Lawyer & fashion designer of namesake brand)