What sparked your interest in fashion?
My earliest memory was from childhood. I was always making clothes for my dolls and watching musicals like My Fair Lady and wishing that I could make clothes for it. Growing up I always loved fashion, sketching and using odd bits of fabrics to create something new, which sparked an interest quite early on to have a career in fashion.
When did you know that you would make a career out of it?
I had a strong desire to be a fashion designer but it wasn’t until I debuted the Prelim line in 2013 at the Labels Fashion Show in London that it became a reality. The response and love I’d received after taking the courage to showcase my first collection to a higher platform confirmed what I had known and dreamed all along and that there was a market for my designs.
Did you study fashion or you self-taught?
Although I started off teaching myself how to design, I knew I had to develop my craft. I studied at the Middlesex University in London, where I got my degree in Womenswear Fashion Design and later took up an internship with London fashion designer and label Nicola De Main.
How many collections have you done so far?
The Kaya collection is my fifth collection to date.
Where can we find your clothes?
Where are you based?
I’m currently based in London, England.
What makes you different from other designers?
I wanted to empower women to represent their African roots and those who felt a strong connection to the Diaspora to wear a part of the culture in modern day fashion, but still allow them to mix and match designs with contemporary pieces that they may already have in their closets. It was important for me to create a label that not only celebrated African roots and its influences living in the western world but also to embrace woman from different cultures by unifying both of them through creating and incorporating my own prints, setting my pieces apart from frequently used ankara prints and fabrics.
How do you incorporate your origin (Zimbabwe) in your fashion?
I’m very proud of my heritage and I wanted to integrate it into my pieces. My designs are a fusion of my African childhood mixed with experiences and
influences living in London now.I love the colors and the boldness that my Zimbabwean heritage represents, which is an essential part of my designs.
Growing up with such strong family traditions and the importance to honor my Ndebele culture including being inspired by the great Ndebele artist, Esther Mahlangu, I wanted to create my own line of prints for my current collection, which truly embodied my heritage celebrating its richness with colors.
How do you see the evolution of fashion in Africa?
To witness the evolution in fashion and how it’s perceived internationally is remarkable.
People are embracing our culture and wearing it proudly whether they’re an indigenous African to other cultures who are inspired by it. The use and popularity of ankara print and lace fabric has evolve greatly to it now being seen on international runways and incorporated in lines by some of the industry’s finest like British fashion designer Stella McCartney’s Stella Jean label and Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B S/S11 collection to A-list celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian wearing emerging African designers. The industry is now paying attention to African fashion, which has evolved our platform as the next and fifth destination for fashion week.
Is your work international expanded?
Yes, the brand has grown over the years and is now accessible and shipped internationally. I often get overwhelmed when I see my customers wearing my designs from different parts of the globe and have been fortunate to have my pieces worn by celebrities and musicians such as Vanessa Simmons and Vicky Sola.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
The biggest lesson is to never give up! You have to keep going until your vision comes to life. Some of the biggest blessings and breakthroughs I have experienced have come about when I almost gave up.
What advice would you give to young African designers?
I would definitely advise young African designers to do a lot of research if they want a long career in fashion, especially to establish what would make them different or stand out from the pool of many talented designers out now and of course to never give up.