Thursday, 4 September 2014

ZFW 2014 Press Conference

“FASHION WEEK IS AN INTERNATIONAL BRAND” – this was a strong opening quote at the ZFW Press Conference that gave us the attendees a better understanding of the vision behind Zimbabwe Fashion Week. ZFW is amongst the top 5 ranked Fashion Weeks in Africa, standing in at Number 4 alongside Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa, Lagos Fashion & Design Week and Nigeria Fashion Week. The new Head of PR, Tinopona Katsande purported that there is no other live show or pageantry that has the level of extravagant production that Zim Fashion Week produces; with international performances (Flash Republic in 2013), regional designers (Gavin Rajah for 2013) and international photographers (Simon Deiner Photography) – ZFW tries to bring together the best of what Zimbabwean textile design has to offer on an international level of production.

Zimbabwe Fashion Week is a Trust organisation which is non-profit and purely strives on Sponsors and Buyers. A few of its sponsors this year include Sensationnel Hair by Outre (who were present amongst us) and Mahindra, who will provide transport and logistics throughout the event for the Young Designers and Special Guests from 25-28 September. During the press conference, the Young Designers Programme was the opening sequential and a discussion that I was personally looking forward to as YDP is a strong premise for this blog. This year’s YDP has 10 participants who are being trained in basic pattern making skills, touring the textile industry and being given seminars on manufacturing in Zimbabwe. The YDP participants are required to produce two garments to showcase at ZFW which are later scored for the Young Designers Competition.

This year’s edition of the YDP is pretty exciting as 3 out of the 10 participants come from outside of Harare – 2 students from Bulawayo and 1 student from Mutare. The Ministry of Youth, Empowerment and Indigenisation are also on board with the YDP, as one of their representatives Mr. Acie Lumumba stressed that the Ministry of Youth is openly available to support young boys and girls through job creation, ZIMASSET and the business of creating opportunities that has been spearheaded by ZFW. Fashion is a very unrecognised field in Zimbabwe at the moment, which requires its own set of skills, creative and initiatives, different from anything academic.

This year ZFW plans to take it a step further by having a synergy of build-ups to the main event, through what is dubbed “The Fashion Night”, in collaboration with Maestro Restaurant once a week. Not only that but International Buyers have taken interest in what ZFW has to offer during the 4 day event, and as stated during the press conference – “exporting our local designs might be the way to go right now, as local buyers are not interested to purchase, AND the zim market relies soo heavily on international trends, more so than looking back at home” (this explains why a lot of boutiques in Harare are expensive and cheap imports are the next alternative).  Some of the Special Guests to grace ZFW are the judges from the Cape Town Fashion Council under the directive of the African Fashion International (AFI), who will select top local designers that will go on to further showcase their work at a slot during Africa Fashion Week in Joburg. Entertainment this year is strictly local, with Mokoomba being the headlining act for the ZFW Fashion Awards alongside MMT.

On a personal closing note, I’m intrigued by what I learned and noted at this press conference, not only that but I hope that this post opens doors for Fashion Bloggers in Harare and Zimbabwe, because our ‘Digital Sassy-ness’ is needed to promote our own Fashion industry on a digital platform.

“There is not enough support for designers and fashion in ZIMBABWE”

“There is not enough funding for FASHION in ZIMBABWE”

I thank you for Reading, Stay Gorgeous!

Tendai Sophia

Tinopona Katsande addressing the Press and Affiliated Media during the ZFW 2014 Press Conference.
Models wearing House of Alpha Rose by Yvonne Ndawana
Mr. Acie Lumumba from the Ministry of Youth, Empowerment and Indigenisation.
One of the Sponsors; Sensationnel Hair by Outre
Models in Alpha Rose.

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