Tuku to showcase stage outfits

HARARE - Music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi will showcase some of his designer stage outfits at this year’s Zimbabwe Fashion Week (ZFW) that will run in Harare from September 3 to 6.

The veteran music star will display selected outfits from 1978, when he began his career, to last year in a rare showcase that will take fashion industry players and enthusiasts down memory lane.

Tuku, as the music legend is affectionately known, said he will use the country’s premier fashion event to show the world his outfits, passion for fashion design and the creativity he incorporates into his unique showmanship.

“Zimbabwe Fashion Week is our own, it is a homegrown platform at which we should shine and showcase our true creativity with pride,” said the music legend.

“I am taking part in this year’s event to show my support and to encourage other Zimbabweans to do the same. There is a lot that we can showcase as Zimbabweans, let’s use this platform to promote ourselves and our identity.  We need something to identify with in terms of fashion and this is a great starting point.”

Tuku hit out at the inferiority complex that drives many Zimbabweans to favour foreign products over local ones and at the expense of our culture and heritage.

The veteran musician, one of Zimbabwe’s most accomplished musicians with 63 music albums to his credit, revealed that he designs his own stage gear.

“My stage outfits have been inspired by my music throughout my career. They are in tune with the beat and that differentiates me from other artistes,” he said.

“For example, when I composed the song Gunguwo in 1978, I designed a black and white outfit whose shirt had butterfly wings to go with the theme.  Some people could not understand my outfits at first, but when they saw my performance, the dance moves and the uniform blending with the music, the response was awesome. It was something else.”

Tuku added that he would engage the fashion event organisers to establish how many outfits from his extensive collection from over the years he can put on show.

“We will have to work out the details with the show producer to see how many of these can be blended with creativity in line with the set and the thematic music taken from my various albums,” said the well-travelled musician

ZFW executive director Priscilla Chigariro-Gessen has welcomed the music maestro’s decision to participate in the most prestigious event on the country’s fashion calendar as “a great endorsement.”

“Oliver Mtukudzi’s decision to participate in ZFW this year is extremely humbling to us as an organisation. Apart from trusting and believing in the platform we created, his participation signifies recognition of our work.”

ZFW was recently rated in the top three on the continent behind only Nigeria and South Africa. It is a significant initiative that has grown in the last six years to become an important and influential event in the fashion, style, creative and cultural sectors.

“I am personally excited to be involved in the production of this year’s event, because Oliver is a legend, who has shown us yet another facet of his personality which none of us knew existed.

“It is overwhelming to have been chosen to share this experience with him, and to help him present such an intimate and personal part of his life,” said Chigariro-Gessen.

ZFW, the country’s premier industry-focused event, provides a platform for local and regional designers to showcase their creativity to fashion industry stakeholders. ZFW is also meant to create a forum for fashion players to network and exchange ideas.

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