I recently had a chance to mix with creatives in the fashion industry at the Zimbabwe Fashion Week in the capital city, Harare. The highlight of my experience at the fashion week was meeting Thembani Mubochwa, a Zimbabwean high-end fashion designer based in South Africa. The vision of his label is to bring back the style and fashion sense that has been lost between generations. He talks about the impeccable fashion sense of older generations, known to be sharp and stylish. Somehow we have lost this over the years. TZM wants to bring back that sense of style and build a foundation for the generations to come.
His driving force as a designer is geared towards changing people’s mindsets about fashion and getting them to understand fashion better. He designs with an African mindset, bringing out an aesthetic that suits the bodies of the people he makes clothes for. Unlike mass production in international markets, his custom designs are made to suit the African context and style.
His love for fashion began when he was in high school. After moving to South Africa, he got the opportunity to work with different celebrities in the entertainment industry as well as on costumes for top prime time shows in South Africa. By partnering with high profile personalities, Thembani has brought a lot of exposure to his brand and collections. His designs have also shifted from exclusive street wear fashion to incorporating high end fashion design.
His journey hasn’t been all roses and flowers. Passion pushes him forward and his will to change the fashion design industry through his creations steers him on.
In terms of engaging with his home community- he has received a really good welcome back in Zimbabwe. He rates Zimbabwe Fashion Week as a wonderful platform that creates and nurtures professional design.
So what value does fashion design add to our communities? Besides contribution to the creative economy and job creation there is a personal value dimension to the story. Impeccable fashion adds value to a person and how they are perceived. It is a case of mass production vs custom design. We all feel special in something that is made specifically for us don’t we?
My very good friend Rutendo Denise was part of the showcase and brought a sparkle to the collection. Fashion is definitely moving into an advanced state in African cities. See below for some shots taken at the TZM showcase at the Zimbabwe Fashion Week.
For more information about this designer visit teezmfashion.co.za
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