Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Local Lovely Flavour: Tanaka Leroy Samukange

Its been a while since I’ve done a LLF on local talent (and for this year in that case) so its only befitting to start in July (my birthday month). This month’s LLF is urban wear designer Tanaka Leroy Samukange (TLS) of 7:30 Apparel. Now this LLF feature is exciting for me because its my first time interviewing anyone and Tanaka happened to be first in line. This interview has been a long time coming due to our busy schedules of schoolwork (especially on my part) and side projects of designing and blogging but alas it finally came through.

7:30 Apparel is wholly an up and coming urban wear label which is 100% local Zimbabwean. 
What drew me to this particular label is its potential as well as youthfulness; when I’m excited about something I always try to embrace it, and this brand caught my attention. It also further reminded me of Faith Wear Zim, which is an urban wear label that has stores around Harare and is quite a prominent feature on the fashion scene as well as some of Zimbabwe’s fashion catwalks and extravaganzas.

So here’s some one-on-one info on the designer and the label:

First and foremost, who is Tanaka Leroy Samukange (T.L.S.)?
My name is Tanaka Leroy Samukange aka T.L.S., I’m a designer, I make music and I’m also an art student. In 2009 I founded 7:30. Originally 7:30 was called T.L.S. Gear, in 2011 I renamed it to 7:30.The Company’s clothing logo is a clock showing 7:30 usually a roman numeral clock. In 2012 7:30 launched its first catalogue titled 7:30'Gear' decoded from the phrase 'a set of toothed wheels which act together to carry motion. Gear can also be defined as, any type of clothing that you wear.

   What is 7:30 Apparel? What is the significance behind the numbers?
Umm, 7:30 is the time I was born lol, I’m joking, 7:30 [SE~VEN, THIR~TY] is an urban lingo which means crazy, cool etc….

 What inspired you to start something like 7:30 Apparel?
I was always into art then one day I realized that art and fashion work hand in hand…..& I was tired walking shop in, shop out not finding something I liked  or something that reflects who I am….so yea

One of the noticeable slogans of 7:30 is “Check Your Time”. What is the significance/meaning behind that statement?
'Check your time' is a simple statement, with many interpretations, but for 7:30 it is being alert, to reevaluate your actions after realizing that your current course of action is likely to lead you to waste your  time…… 

 From my observation, it seems as though 7:30 is more of an urban wear brand and I’ve spotted some of the T-shirts at Sage in Joina City; is there more to come from the brand in terms of Stock lists and merchandise?
Yea there is more to come, I decided to kickstart the brand with making tees so 7:30 could penetrate the market easily…. I’m just driving slow so I can dodge potholes

The label is still so young and vibrant, but I’m more excited to ask if there are plans under construction that will see the brand growing into a mainstream Zimbabwean brand?
 I have teamed up with AMVIS Music group to create a mixtape titled “I GOT MY GEAR ON the EP” which is currently in the making. The purpose of the EP is to help market the 7:30 “Gear” collection through music. It’s easier for people to know about a brand via a catchy song
than through literature. This project is actually serving two purposes. The EP will market the clothing line and also provide a platform for featured artists to shine.

So far I’ve only seen a few male orientated pieces from 7:30, is there anything under construction for the ladies?
Yea there is, I have been doing some sketches, the thing is that it’s very hard to design female orientated pieces if you a male designer, so I have taking time doing my research but soon hey…just watch this space

Something for the ladies; funky-hipstar urban wear

A lot of young Zimbabwean youths are launching their own local street/urban wear labels, my question is what sets your brand above the rest?
My goal is to establish 7:30 as the leader of streetwear in Zimbabwe and eventually in the world.
I have developed the following blogs, Star of the month, Steelo, which operate under 7:30… these blogs have provided a platform for me to interact and get closer with my audience, plus my collaboration with AMVIS MUSIC GROUP has even brought me closer to the hip-hop community which is mainly my targeted audience….

Models wearing 7:30 Apparel.

Last but not least, on the local or international fashion scene, what is your absolute fashion? Must have or accessory at the moment?
my fashion must have at the moment is square scarf, a square scarf with an urban  style can give you  personalized street look….square scarves have become the most stylish accessories one has  to own this season they are fun and easy to wear they can suit each individual and add a dash of chic to any outfit…

So There you have it, my first interview on a local designer. Its also great to note that Tanaka Leroy made to the Top 14 Designer Finalists for Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe, and recently scooped a spot in Zimbabwe Fashion Weekend's Young Designer Finalists. Exciting to see where this brand is going. 
Watch this space....

As Always..
Stay Gorg and Glam,

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