Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe (FWZ) Top Designer Finalists

Every time I get the chance to attend something fashion related I do my best to dress up and go all out. This past weekend I got the opportunity to attend Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe’s Top 14 Finalists judging process. Now unfortunately I got there super late (like at 11:45 late) but nevertheless I got there and made the most of what I could. Now as we all know, Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe (FWZ) is a brand new annual event that merges fashion, food, and music all into one sphere over a two day weekend (kinda makes you think of a Fab festival with a little more fashion sophistication). The main aim behind the event is to contribute to the development and the future of the Zimbabwe Fashion Industry through nurturing young designers and giving them a platform to express their work (which is super exciting if you ask me). Now the nationwide designer search spanned for over a month from 13 May to 13 June 2013 with over 45 applications that were rundown to the Top 14 Finalists in the following order:

Beryl Kanyowa (I’m guessing this might be Beryl Rue…might be)

Kimberley Masimbe (of House of Kiki M)

Malaika Mushandu (I only found out on Saturday that she’s also a designer)

Noliwe Mhlope (of Listo Designs)

Nyasha Nhutsve (of Nhembe Aleth)

Pamela Mashanda

Samantha Dika

Samantha Natasha Matemadombo (of Identite Noire)

Sharon Tsitsi Mhandu

Takudzwa Edmond Chikumbirike

Tanaka Leroy Samukange (of 7.30 Apparel)

Tanya Nefertari (of Tanya Nefertari)

Thelma Chindabata and Yvonne Feresu (of The Von)

Theresa Kagoro (of Black Excellence)

Now by the time I had arrived, most of the designers had gone so I only got to interview only 3 out of the 14. The three designers I got to have a meet n’ greet with were Nyasha Nhutsve, Samantha Natasha Matemadombo and the duo Thelma Chindabata and Yvonne Feresu. All four ladies that I met had 4 things in common; they were all passionate, fashion driven, original and young designers who had never studied any fashion or sewing course at all! They all created their garments from what their believed in.

Nyasha Nhutsve

Young lady Nyasha Nhutsve is an Africa University (AU) graduate, class of 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology (yes, sociologists think alike!). Her clothing label is Nhembe Aleth which literally means clothing; where “Nhembe” is shona (bantu) originated and “Aleth” is a Dinka language from South Sudan. Reason being that Nyasha adores South Sudan for two reasons, the first being their original and vividly unknown fabrics and second is that South Sudan’s Independence Day simultaneously falls on her birthday. Nyasha draws her inspiration from just about anything, whether it’s an orchard tree to a skyscraper building to African beads; her thesis was to use her academic knowledge on a practical/technical skills environment. Her future dream someday is to take Nhembe Aleth to a regional and international level with flagship stores in Zimbabwe and another in South Sudan.

Miss Nyasha modelling one of her creations
Samantha Natasha Matemadombo

Samantha Matemadombo is the little lady behind Identite Noire, which is French for Black Identity. Samantha is an art marvel who loves fashion and has no design experience but has managed to integrate her ability to draw into fashion design and sketching ( and has this mean sketch book of all of her designs; some of the samples are below). All her designs are Avant-Garde with a mixture of a strong African combination of culture and symbols as well as a little Western inspiration.

Some of Samantha's sketches with the African frock above being my favourite.

Thelma Chindabata and Yvonne Feresu

Thelma Chindabata and Yvonne Feresu were the youngest designers I got to meet, both of 18 years of age and doing their A level studies at St. Dominics Chishawasha. The girls had always had a passion for fashion since the onset of their high school years and they actually did not take a Fashion and Fabrics/Textiles class at school. Their clothing label “The Von” was only incorporated last year when the girls decided to bring their creative thoughts into reality. Their label is a fusion of African and Western inspiration.

I can see myself wearing the red jacket with the black panels

Now this is all I managed to cover considering I was a late bird but overall I must say it was a pleasure to meet all the girls. It’s exciting to think that there is raw talent in Zimbabwe and it’s just a matter of the right platform and resources for them to express themselves. Furthermore the girls who I interviewed were lucky enough to clinche a spot in the Top 8 finalist designers for FWZ and I must say I’m so proud (heck I’m sure I was their lucky charm too, since I came late and got to meet them at the last hour). Congratulations to all the finalists and I cannot wait to see what these guys will produce. 

The Top 8 as announced on Monday 1 July 2013

FWZ will take place this year from the 12th-13th October 2013. Remember, it’s all in the name of F.A.S.H.I.O.N.

The Lady behind FWZ, Shamiso Ruzvidzo wearing an all black ensemble with gold details. Love her shirtdress.

The young designers i got to meet. Thelma and Yvonne in their St Dominics uniform whilst Samantha has the bun. To Samantha's left in Noliwe Mhlope of Listo Designs. And Samantha's model wearing the red maxi dress.

P.S. It’s a tad bit unfortunate I couldn’t share pics of my outfit but hence here is a snapshot of what I wore;

Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe:


Twitter: @FWZ013

Stay Gorg and Glam,


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  2. It's good to see our people getting into fashion and having a wider audience to show it to