Zim fashion designer headed for UK

HARARE - Fashion designer Tarisayi Gweje is headed for the United Kingdom for the London Africa Fashion week following an impressive showcase at the Nigeria Fashion week held in May.

Gweje, 29 runs the label, Chaivo Fashions that showcased designs at Hifa 2014, which are inspired by the Salarygate Scandal.

“I applied to go to Nigeria, I sent them my profile, my previous works and I was selected. There were more than 50 designers and I was the only one from Zimbabwe.

“After I showcased there, they loved my work which led me to being invited to Africa Fashion Week London which is in August,” she said.

The designer is now appealing for funding.

“I have to pay for everything, so I’m looking for sponsorship. For the Nigerian showcase, I spent all the money that I had as I met all costs.  As for this event I can’t raise all the money in the short space of time.”

Gweje, who grew up in a family that was into tailoring, said she was inspired by her parents to venture into designing.

“I grew up in a family where my parents were doing part time jobs at established tailors. After work they would start sewing and I would help them. That’s where I got my inspiration, although they didn’t take it further.

“When I finished school I didn’t think of doing anything else, so I picked up from where my parents left,” she said.

The Chitungwiza-based designer attended design school to horn her skills.

“I went to Amazing House of Designers; it was a school for Fashion Art and Designing. After that I went to Harare Polytechnic where I did design and pattern making, it was my second course.

“My first show was in 2003 at Cottco Fashion Show, where I was chosen as one of the top 20 emerging designers. I was 17 then and the Cottco Fashion Fair was for emerging fashion designers. That is how I entered the world of fashion designing.”

She added that trendy fashion is facing strong competition from second-hand clothes that have flooded the streets (mabhero).

“It is sad to see second hand clothes coming into the country but I don’t think we have control over that as people are also making a living out of it. It is now up to the consumers to choose what to buy.

“If we keep on doing the right thing in the direction of designing and marketing, taking our work into the big stores we will go a long way,” she said.

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