Salarygate inspires fashion designer

HARARE - Fashion designer Tarisai Gweje has drawn inspiration from a very unlikely source-the Salarygate Scandals.

Most Zimbabweans, who are struggling to make ends meet in an economy that is grinding to a halt, were horrified when details of astronomical salaries paid to certain corporate leaders in Zimbabwe were divulged in the press a few months ago.

While the salary scandals triggered a wave of anger among underpaid workers, for 28-year old Gweje the salary scandals turned out to be a stimulus for her creative juices. She saw the outrageous salaries as fodder for a new collection which she interestingly named Scandal.

Gweje’s designs, which include evening gowns, summer shorts, daywear dresses, jumpsuits and belts, are characterised by a dominant black colour and very minimal gold.

“If you look at the designs gold is very limited on the designs to represent the very people who have money. Those are the few getting everything while the rest suffers,” said the rising fashion designer.

“Black represents the darkness surrounding the whole salary scandal.”

Some of Gweje’s dresses interestingly incorporate real spoons. The designer, who showcased her creations during the Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa) which ends today, said the spoons symbolise the ordinary workers that are suffering while only a small portion of the population lives in opulence.

“The ordinary workers in Zimbabwe are trying to earn a decent living. They work very hard but they will be working for the few individuals who have money,” said Gweje who started her designing career 11 years ago.

According to Gweje, most of the clothes in the Scandal Collection can be worn on any ordinary day, unlike some designs which are only meant for the runway or themed parties.

The 28 year old designer, who exhibited her clothes at the 2007 Hifa edition and during a fashion show held on International Women’s Day, told the Daily News on Sunday that her designs reflect the various situations and events happening around her.

“My inspiration comes from anything and everything and I work from home,” she said.

Gweje’s Scandal Collection has come at a time when Zimbabwe is experiencing unprecedented levels of corruption. Zimbabwe was ranked at number 157 out of 177 in the world last year in the 2013 Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The country was also rated as one of the most corrupt countries in Africa by Afrobarometer in 2013.

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