Thursday, 27 February 2014

Meet The Industry; Fashion Networking at Queen of Hearts – FWZ 2014.

Ever wondered who makes the Fashion Industry in Zimbabwe? Well I found out just that on Saturday 22 February at a small Meet The Industry networking event organised by Shamiso Ruzvidzo for Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe2014. FWZ 2014 seems to be creating a big impact for the year 2014, because there will be more of these Fashion Industry networking events scheduled for each month right up to the festival later in the month of November.

So to kick off the anticipation for FWZ 2014, the Meet The Industry, being the first one, was meant to bring together individuals in the Fashion Industry in Zimbabwe via a small meet n’ greet brunch that had tea, coffee and light snacks, with $5 as the entry fee. The event spanned just over 2 hours, and brought together photographers, designers, retailers, buyers, models, PR agencies and fashion bloggers (just myself).

Photographers in question were Tnash Photography (whose photos I will use for this post because at the moment I’m trying to purchase a new phone), Michelle Fortmann Photography (she is the lady behind some of the photos you see in JEWEL magazine and the Mucha Couture website) and Macpherson Photographers Zimbabwe. I spotted a pack of new designers, some of which are young and still emerging. To start off I spoke to Bridget Minenhle Nyathi who has her label Brie’s Fashions, she’s a lady that resides from Bulawayo and has recently moved to Harare. Her designs are mainly couture based with ladies corsets, wedding gowns, beaded hand work and a few avant-garde pieces. TiyaMike Shazz Dingilesi is a young lady (probably around the age of 18 because she spoke off just finishing her A level) who is one of the finalist’s for Africa On MySleeve alongside Natasha Kagoro and Kimberley Masimbe of House of Kiki M. Her sketch book pretty much showcased an avant-garde feel to young and edgy looks, but her designs are still fresh and new.

Tiya Mike, wearing the hat.
Bridget Nyathi
Michelle Fortmann and Nadine of LonCrae.
Well established designers at the gathering were Nadine of LonCrae, who has a studio in Belgravia at the Bottom Drawer and specialised in once-off designer pieces for her clients. Dress Code was the one retail store that I met who have a store by Newlands in the Mon Repos building. They are in the process of rebranding their store from selling unique couture collections with exclusively imported clothes from the UK that include Frank Usher, Coterie, Jaeger, Tegan, Kaliko, Alexon and Minuet Petite, to incorporating young Zimbabwean designers in what they call the Young Designers Emporium (the Zim version so to say, because there is YDE in South Africa). Already on board is Tanya Nefertari, as they try to establish themselves as Zimbabwe’s sole /leading retail outlet for proven Zimbabwe design talent through the provision of shop space and a venue to launch the collections to the public.

Make-up artist Kelli Barker was also in attendance, she was the make up artist for Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2012 whilst Kudzai and Fisher were the two male models that I noticed both from Catherine Ruze modelling agency. I had already known Kudzai from a photoshoot for Rungano Rwedu back in January 2013 with Shamiso and Mellisa whilst under Runway Productions. Image consultant, blogger, stylist and above all gentleman Craig Zoowie was also in attendance whilst under VIP Hosting, which is a PR and events company based in Eastlea, Harare. It was such a pleasure to meet Zoowie -True to his word as he is with his fashion. Another stylist was Michael who is also the head buyer for Jet Stores Zimbabwe.
Kudzai (in all white) and Fisher.

Myself and Craig Zoowie.
The setting for Meet The Industry was outside in the yard of the Queen of Hearts café under the trees (great connection with nature). The weather was just perfect! Although having rained a bit that morning but it was down right sunny and warm. I opted to have tea, because I’m just that kind of girl, and talk a lot and smile a lot (I was smiling a lot! Check the photos).

What do I think about Meet The Industry? I thought it went very well. I met new people and new faces, some of which had been around much longer than me, but I was glad to meet them. I learned about what goes into photos and photography, having spoken to photographers because I hinted I like to take photos. I also learned about the printing and press publishing from the editor of Stitch magazine who personally prints the magazine herself.

I would think there should be more of these events so that individuals and companies come together, talk and introduce new ideas that can boost and pave way for the Fashion Industry in Zimbabwe. I remember Shamiso hinting that the music industry in Zimbabwe is collective and very together, and everyone knows everyone and works with everyone! Why not do that with the fashion industry?

Most of the designers I met had been sewing and pattern cutting for more than 10 years, but I however had no clue who they were! So a part of me does feel this is important and beneficial to anyone who wants or wishes to venture into fashion.

Editor for Stitch Magazine
Our hostess Shamiso Ruzvidzo.
All smiles! Check, my tote photobombed this photo.
So now onto you; What are your thoughts about Meet The Industry and Fashion Networking? Share with me and the rest of the industry.

*All photos courtesy of Tnash Photography. The rest of the photos for Meet The Industry can be viewed here via Fashion Weekend Zim's Facebook page. Full Details of my ensemble on here*

Yours in Glamour,

Monday, 24 February 2014

My Weekend Ensemble: Henry Holland Poppy Dress

This blogpost is exciting for me because of two factors;

1. I got my Signature hairstyle back! Tiny micro-braids that are super functional for me, they look great on me which makes them my fave. The braids are actually a weave by the name of Nubian Lock for Outre hair products, which goes for $7.oo per pack.

2. I wore my Henry Holland Poppy Dress for Mr. Price South Africa to Meet The Industry networking on Saturday 22 February at the Queen of Hearts cafe in Highlands, Harare.

I spotted the Henry Holland Dress on a mannequin in a new store corner Herbert Chitepo and Second street extension/Sam Nujoma street. I admire Henry Holland's designs and i'm a huge fan of his material and graphics, so when i spotted this dress in Zimbabwe, it was just meant to be. Interestingly enough the little store (with the name of Just Fab) sells only Mr. Price Apparel, so i'm guessing the owner is trying to diversify (not sure how though).

So this dress was worn by Kelly Osbourne in the Mr. Price Nov/Dec 2013 lookbook in collaboration with the Red Cap Foundation in South-Africa. Out of all of the Henry Holland Exclusive pieces, the Poppy dress was the highlight for me (I know its just a lookbook but there's alot that goes on in my mind when i go through them). The details in the stripes is my favourite thing about this dress, i love stripes and have only worn Breton stripes (black and white tiny stripes), so a multi-coloured dress with a horizontal pitch was a first for me. Second of all this dress is cute and short, which makes it pretty great for summer with the length and the vibrant colours.

I paired my Poppy dress with a black Peplum jacket, chunky necklace, black tote and nude pumps; keeping everything else neutral whilst letting the dress be the highlight for the whole ensemble. I wore this dress to the perfect occasion which was the Meet The Industry networking organised by Shamiso Ruzvidzo of Catherine Ruze modelling agency and Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe 2014. A separate post will be done for the networking event, but it was a small brunch, so to say, that brought together some of professionals in the Fashion Industry in Zimbabwe, that included photographers, designers, stylists, fashion bloggers (just myself), retailers and models.

My hair was in a top-knot bun, fuss free and out of my face so that i can easily network.

So...this is how i styled a multi-coloured dress; a little illustration of my styling strategy which is The GLAM Project.

Signing out with lots of love and chic fashion...

Yours in Glamour,

Mademoiselle Signature Toscie

The Poppy Delevigne dress, as worn by Kelly Osbourne for Henry Holland Mr. Price SA.
Photo from

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Local Lovely Flavour: Interview with Takudzwa Edmond Chikumbirike

Takudzwa Edmond Chikumbirike was the only male finalist for Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe’s 2013 evening gala and the one designer that reached out to me for an interview. I was soo glad because I felt honoured that someone wanted to share their story with me and the blog. Our meeting was on a Friday in the Harare CBD, with Edmond having travelled straight from Bindura that morning, (he was once again the only finalist in FWZ 2013 that was based outside Harare, residing from Bindura). At the time of entering the competition, Edmond was a student, pursuing his Advanced level at Chipadze High School back in Bindura.
Meeting Edmond was a breath of fresh air because he was soo bubbly, excited and young. You could tell the gentleman had determination in his eyes because at the age of 18 years, he has managed to jump start his fashion career as a designer!

Although there was a bit of miscommunication to our meeting venue (my misunderstanding on my part), here is how the interview went;

Edmond's Ensemble for our interview. Head to toe are his creations from House of Azalion.
Who is Takudzwa Edmond?
Edmond is young, fun and fearless, independent! I come from Bindura, the suburban part of the area and come from a family of four children; with me being the oldest. I’ve an artistic background within the family because my father is a sculptor and my brother is an artist (Art student at Chipadze High School).

And your birth date?
I’m 18 years old, turning 19 on the 18th of April *too cute if I must say*

*At this point he admits how excited he was to meet me and wasn't sure if I would yes or no to meeting him to which I replied I was glad he reached out to me!*

So let’s talk about your brand a little bit more, I know its House of Azalion, but what is it all about?
Well, House of Azalion is a local brand which is for tailor made clothing. My label embodies Edgy, Classic and Elegant which caters for both teenagers and young adults, both male and female. Edgy represents the young and fearless person (which is also an inclusion of a part of me). A lot of the edgy part has to do with street wear. The Classic and Elegant are a combination of vintage inspiration. Azalion is actually “As A Lion”, a lot of it represents my fearless personality.

*At this point he eagerly begins to share his experience of FWZ 2013, and our conversation quickly turns to the event.*

Let’s talk about Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe; the event must have been a stepping-stone for you?
Yes, it was my first event ever! And I was soo happy that I was shortlisted! My journey to fashion started in 2012 when I was doing my lower 6. Before that I was inspired by music especially Gospel and Hip hop, and I had started writing my own music in Form 3. Fashion however, was always there because I had started designing in Form 3 as well but just as a side project. I never really thought I would pursue it because there was no support at home from the family, but I did however used to love Civvies day at school because it was the only time I would really dress up and be quirky. Everyone at school thought I was weird or kamu “salad”.

My fashion journey therefore officially began in Lower 6 when I sent in my applications for Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2012, and didn't get a response. At the time I didn't know that ZFW even existed! I only knew of South African shows and stuff. Then in my first term of Upper 6 I saw FWZ in the newspaper and I thought to myself; wow, there are more of these shows in Zimbabwe! (When you live outside of Harare a lot these things don’t come your way nor do we even know about them! So if you are not well vested or up to date with media you miss out). So I sent in my application for Fashion Weekend Zim and got a reply that I was shortlisted for the 45 designers! I was very excited but also very scared because I wondered to myself if I will make it into the top 14. On the day of the Designer Interviews I arrived late to the interviews in Belvedere due to transport problems coming from Bindura. I remember I arrived about 30 minutes before the closing time. I was quite disappointed with myself but at the same time I told myself to give it my best, and to my surprise by Monday morning the following week my name was on the Top 8 finalists! I was just overjoyed.

Model Loshanda wears a House of Azalion dress early this year in the FWZ 2013 Lookbook.
And your fashion journey officially began…?
Yes for me my fashion journey officially started. My parents started to see how serious I was about this, but more so they were worried as to how I would keep up with school because I commuted from Bindura every weekend for the Designer Workshops by Alliance Française. *he mentions here how he loved Alliance Française especially with the graffiti on the wall, I added on by saying I did my French diploma there! And Edmond gave me the biggest hug!* I felt a bit overwhelmed because I was in the same classroom every Saturday with Nikko Frikko and Samantha Dika who are beautiful and yet strong women. I felt like they knew what they were doing and I didn’t. For me the mentorship program opened up my mind and a lot of doors for me. I did my first television interview on ZTV, (which unfortunately I never got to watch), and a part of me feels like I’m now somebody because people are now confident in me. Even my family now asks me for fashion advice before leaving the house!

With all that you have learned from FWZ, I want to know what your potential future plans are for 2014 and beyond.
Well I obviously plan to go to fashion school. I’m not sure how, but I plan to. I already know the basics of sewing and pattern making and cutting, which I taught myself way before FWZ so I would love to perfect that. I also plan on creating a fashion house someday; I’m still young and have soo much time to perfect my work so in the near future a fashion house is a definite plan. And for 2014, I want to partake in Zimbabwe Fashion Week under the Young Designers Programme (YDP), because I think I’m no longer an emerging designer; I’ve already done that for FWZ. Although I’m a bit sceptical about ZFW 2014 due to no finances at the moment.

Now back to your label, what inspires you as a fashion designer?
My overall inspiration is mainly European-American fashion. I can’t really say I’m 100% all African because I occasionally mix in an African essence, but my inspiration is vintage western clothing and glamour. I’m also inspired by Harare especially the suburbs in Harare because the youngsters are not afraid to wear whatever they want because its fashion and they can express themselves. It’s different from where I come from because fashion isn't really that important. So the Edgy part of my label is inspired by the urban wear in Harare.

What sets your fashion label different from the rest?
When I’m designing I can put anything on paper. I’m really into vintage pieces so I try to cater for the consecutive and non-consecutive individuals; hence the Edgy, Classic and Elegant.

And who is your absolute style icon?
My absolute style icon is South-African designer David Tlale! But I’ve more than one style icon; Marilyn Monroe, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston all embody Old Hollywood style for me.

What is your biggest fashion pet peeve as a fashion designer?
COLOUR-BLOCKING! The trend started in Europe in like 2010, and here in Zimbabwe there are still some people who are colour blocking.

And your must have fashion accessory?
Turbans! I love turbans on women, always have and always will. Actually for FWZ I wanted my models to wear turbans with their looks, but unfortunately it didn't happen. I love turbans on the runway, in magazines and on the television.

A Turban incorporated into his sketches.
Before we officially round up our interview, I want to know do you have a quote or philosophy you live by?
 Yes, I have one. It goes like this; “Stay away from people that try to belittle your ambitions. And keep up looking at the great, for they make you feel that you can also be great.”

Last but least, do you have any last words about the Zimbabwe Fashion Industry? What do you think needs to be done to give it a strong boost?
As a designer I think there are a lot of weaknesses in the industry. To begin with the fabrics in general are just poor. Most of the fabrics or patterns are either very cheap quality or really expensive or you really can’t even find both. The fashion shows need a lot more work, because they don’t have an impact. The fashion show comes and quickly goes, unlike in South Africa for instance we continue to talk about them months later!


The only male finalist for Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe 2013.
So this interview introduced us to Takudzwa Edmond Chikumbirike, the only gentleman in FWZ 2013 and one whom was representing Bindura. Edmond’s love for fashion is young, fresh and exciting because he is excited to share his creations. Edmond’s enthusiasm is so exciting so much so that I think it’s a great idea to help him get into Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2014 this year. I don’t know how, and there is no full proof plan but if you read this interview and like what you see, and have the resources to help him; then please come forward and do so. Let’s get our designers on the right boat they deserve to be sailing on!

To contact House of Azalion, check out their Facebook page here.

Yours in True Glamour,

Monday, 10 February 2014

My Weekend Ensemble: Just Casual

The weather has been pretty dull as of late, with a lot more cloud, wind and rain (super dull if you ask me because it's supposed to be summer! With warmth and sunshine). The weather nowadays makes me determine what to wear which is quite hard for me because i'm trying to embrace skirts, summer dresses and easy-breezy frocks.

So this was yesterday's ensemble on a Sunday morning. I hadn't planned a blogpost, but the response to the 3 dimensional photo via Facebook was soo lovely that it honestly felt right to share it with everyone else. This was my first attempt at a 3 dimensional photo using an Android app called Photo Grid; which to me looks more like a phone game app! But i'm getting the hang of it.

So my ensemble was pretty simple and casual; i worked with neutrals with the beige blouse and matching cardi (which you might probably remember from here), black jeans and the grey purse, then added a pop of colour with the red heels. To be honest the weather isn't helping me to flourish because i'm not one who enjoys being cold.

Yours in Glamour,

Tendai Sophia

Fashion In Harare

In the last 10 years or so, Zimbabwe as a nation has been through a rollercoaster journey and it is very well evident to see. A lot of the industries have gone into a downturn and one of them being the Textile Industry of Fashion. Fashion on its own, is a versatile and strong industry Incorporated with media and advertising. Now since 2009 however, the industry has been taking a noticeable and yet growing turn, one which I’m proud to see shine. There have been a growing number of fashion events over the past four years with focus being on ZFW (Zimbabwe Fashion Week) as well as the recently launched HIFAshion for HIFA; but my focus here is on the chain store fashion, yes I’m talking street fashion.
As a young undergrad student I’ve a flair for fashion and yes I’m faulty to say I’ve travelled a bit and is even more guilty to say I’ve at some point compared Zim fashion to that of South-Africa, Botswana and Namibia. And the spectrum in indifference is huge because Zim has a long way to go before we are fully recognized on the international front.
So “Fashion in Harare” is just this fashion diary I want to share about Harare’s retail and chain stores directly from the streets as how I see it (you are more than welcome to refer to here or JEWEL magazine Zimbabwe). On a good Saturday (even during the week after my lectures), I window shop as well as bargain hunt on some fashionable pieces trying to create something of my own. It is no lie that Harare retail stores don’t have a variety of clothing because one retail store in Julius Nyerere is selling the same apparel as a store in Herbert Chitepo and my usual concern is finding something that works for me. So here is just a rundown of some of the retail/chain stores (in categories) that are noticeably doing really good and ones which you will find me at (some of these stores can be found in previous blog posts).
NB: all these stores mentioned below apply to both men and women whether young or old.
Budget babe looks at affordable, cheap but good fashion. This is a selection of some of the stores I go to, to find something fun and nice but good on my pocket. For me its all about the good eye because you really cant buy anything and everything for instance, the colour blocking era was a colour blinding phenomenon for me. I daren’t not go there on clothing but did so on accessories only! Budget babe shopping includes 3 retail stores these being SK2, Wardrobe Mix and Great Gear as well as the fleamarket. Most of the clothing is particularly the same name branding such as H-Twenty One, New Feeling and Miss Eva Denim, just to name a few. These aren’t your quality pieces of clothing but it is what has flooded the market.
Now the fleamarket in Harare has become the norm; almost a hangout/scouting spot for everyone, regardless of age group. Fleamarkets in question is the Avondale fleamarket in the Avondale Shopping Centre operating everyday Monday-Sunday from dusk till dawn, and the Sam Levy Fleamarket that operates every Sunday at the Sam Levy Village.

Traditional Chain Stores
Your traditional chain stores are those that have stood the test of time but are now just rebranding and picking up on the fashion pace. Case in point are Jet (former Express stores), Edgars, Truworths and Powersales. These stores have branches all over Harare and are familiar particularly to the old schools such as my mom (I owe my mom to introducing me to these stores). Now what’s great about these stores is that they have introduced a lay bye procedure, something which is new because they usually work on individual clothing accounts. So far I’ve seen a lot of choices of clothing in these stores, ones which I’m pleased to see. Although they might be a little on the pricier side, I think it’s a fair start. In the case of Powersales, most of their clothing is imported from PEP South-Africa (yes, I’ve checked the labels) and frankly I would like to see more local textile design wear.
High End Boutiques
High end boutiques are the stores that I admire but cannot afford (remember I’m a student), but I do occasionally buy statement pieces from these stores such as a good handbag, a statement shoe or a statement blazer. I believe in investing in certain pieces, ones that I know will last me longer. Now these boutiques stock international clothing and by international I mean they are neither local nor regional. Their clothing is imported from Brazil, England, America and Australia making them pretty expensive in some cases. Case in point is Passport boutique, SOHO Wear, Chapter 2 (two), Little Harrods, Defined Wear and Wisteria Lane. Now most of these boutiques are on the outskirts of the CBD and are found in suburbs that include Avondale, Newlands, Borrowdale and Mount Pleasant. Not to forget the shoe and handbag boutiques such as Sapatos at Joina City, Nicia and Shoe Shack which are both at the Village.

You can spot some of these boutiques and their merchandise in the fashion pages of JEWEL magazine Zimbabwe.
My emphasis here with “Fashion in Harare” is to showcase just what the city has to offer in terms of what and where to find a good piece of clothing to wear. Its no lie that majority of the merchandise in town is cheap, china wear.
Stay Gorgeous and Glamorous,

DISCLAIMER: The blog, Signature Toscie by Tendai Sophia is in no manner affiliated with these brands and/or stores. I’m just a young lady sharing my passion for local fashion.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

In My Style Journal: Lupita Nyong'o

If you had been following the Awards season then you would know the overnight fashion success of Lupita Nyong'o. The Kenyan beauty stars in the hugely popular 12 Years A slave alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor. Who is she if you may ask? Well she is of Kenyan descent, graduate Yale class of 2012 and is a seriously beautiful African American young woman, who really isn't new to the Hollywood scene. Alot of the international media and fashion bloggers are taking notice of Lupita, but I particularly like her for her fashion choices. Stylist or no stylist, her clothing choices are effortless, chic and classy all at the same time with subtle but yet lovely make-up. 

One of the defining features about Lupita is her hair! It's short, functional and neat! And of course I love that it is different, and gives her, her own Signature essence (which really actually makes her stand out). As of late, Lupita is doing a fantastic job in my opinion, bringing in an allure of pure class and demure. I would like to believe she is a style icon in the making.

Yours in Glamour,
Tendai Sophia

Psst... you can also check out Lupita as one of the new faces for Miu Miu's Spring/Summer 2014 campaign. You can Thank me later!

Pinterest Photo.
The Little Black Dress revamped.
On a personal note, these are my two favourite colours and this is a a great combo of the two.
I love this collage from Pinterest.
At the Golden Globes in a red dress with a cape.
Of course I love the white jacket.
At the Screen Actors Guild Awards where she won Best Supporting Actress for 12 years A slave.
Lupita Nyongo for Miu Miu

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Fashion-able February

Welcoming you to the month of February! I have been busily working on my project for my final year and I must say it is exciting with some also good ol' hard work. I have quite a few plans for the month of February, and to kick it off I will do a small blogpost on the fabulous fashions of rising Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong'o. She is humble, beautiful, Kenyan and above all is a serious breath of fresh air to the fashion scene.

Next is another Designer Interview slated for February. Yes, I will have another sit down with a local emerging designer (still deciding on who) and learn what makes them tick! I fully want to embrace our local talent, especially the up and coming individuals who have a fresh zest and bountiful excitement for Fashion.

I will also continue with my Signature manner-isms of sharing some of the Fashion(s) from yours truly's closet as well as styling tips! I really enjoy the packing, co-ordination and the little details in clothing, so much so that I slated my little hobby The GLAM Project that I will try to bring to you every month with its own segment on the blog.

The Fashion Calendar in Harare for 2014 is already up and moving with a few events lined up this February. My safest bet is I will try and attend some of them and share a good post with you on the blog; so as to give you an insight of what goes on in Harare's growing Fashion scene. Other than that, February is the month of Love, and what better way to celebrate it than wear Red, White and Black! If not, then Chocolate is always good for the soul! :) 

Until then, Celebrate Y.O.U

Yours in Glamour,
Photo is Internet Sourced.