Welcome to the fashion revolution

HARARE - A year and a half later I have to say goodbye to 263 Voices.

This column has been my home, my place to rant, my comfort and freedom. I regret having to leave, however, I feel that it is time that someone fresh and relevant takes over.

I am very confident with the choice that I have made, and especially now when Zim Fashion s definitely taking strides and things are happening.

While this space started off solely as a fashion column, the demand to have more Zimbabweans heard transformed it into a lifestyle space, where we celebrated our countrymen scattered around the world.

I have been given a new role at the Africa Channel TV, which by no means demeans what I was doing here, however the work load has become somewhat of a burden and difficult for me to manage.

I will continue to guest column to keep you abreast with what is going on, and while I start a new chapter with Africa Channel, I hope that I am able to continue my involvement with the Zimbabwean fashion Industry.

I am in awe of how far we have come, and where we are going.

Each and every designer in Zimbabwe is making such a huge impact in their different ways and it is so exciting to watch.

Designers are beginning to understand how important it is to work with artisanal communities and jump on the bandwagon of a fashion revolution that is spreading like wild fire!.

Consumers are also starting to ask who made their clothes and under what circumstances and the more we push for this kind of transparency, the more we open up for a thriving manufacturing hub within Zimbabwe.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is where I sign off, thank you for your comments, your emails and most importantly for developing this column.

I welcome Rudo Nondo-   Rudo take it away!!

After watching a documentary series called blood sweat and t shirts in 2008 my entire view of fashion changed. 

I remember rummaging through my wardrobe and frantically going through all my clothes checking their labels to see where they were made.

I would say my ethical and sustainable  fashion journey started at this point, all of a sudden I was aware that there were real people  behind the clothes I wore; real people literally sweating behind those machines all working  monotonous and often exhausting shifts often for 12 hours or more at a time.

I started to look well beyond the price of a garment before deciding to buy it or not and I truly understood that a garment retailing for 5usd or less cost at least 10c to make.

The people behind these machines could not actually afford to buy the item they made and were living in unbearable conditions.

Looking at the true cost of the garment meant opting to buy items of clothing that were multi - functional and durable and often at a higher in price.

On the 24th of April 2013 the fashion industry took a major blow when the Rana Plaza collapsed on Dhaka in Bangladesh killing 1133 people all of which were producing clothes for major global retail chains.

This was a major wake-up call as more and more people were suffering for our desire for cheap and fast fashion.

Working with seamstresses in and around the CBD in Harare I could not help but imagine such a catastrophe in Zimbabwe where would we even start?

I started to look at sustainability as whole and not just in terms of fair pay I had to think about people's working conditions.

How many people can one have safely working in a room? Do we have appropriate safety measures inplace? Are there any fire extinguishers in our buildings?

As a fashion designer I am beginning to look at my brand and how transparent I am in terms of who makes my clothes. As a consumer I am empowered to ask retailers where my clothes are coming from and who is making my clothes.

As a fashion revolutionist I am tasked with spreading the message about sustainable fashion and I am asking you all to look inside your labels and ask the designers; manufacturers and retailers-  #whomademyclothes?.

Follow the movement at fashionrevolution.org and locally on Twitter: @fashrevzim and Facebook: FashionRevolutionZimbabwe